Chloé Zhao Reveals How Denis Villeneuve’s Films Influenced ‘ETERNALS’

eternals influence

Chloé Zhao and Denis Villeneuve participated in an interview for Harper’s BAZAAR to discuss the power of the cinematic experience and their worries with the changes in the industry. They both made no secret of the fact that they appreciated each other’s work, gaining a lot of inspiration from each other.

Villeneuve is well known for his love of the cinematic experience and as he has repeatedly stated that the big screen is part of its language. In this interview, the Canadian director did not hide his support for IMAX, which according to him increases the feeling of intimacy with the characters. Chloé Zhao, whose previous film Nomadland was also screened in IMAX, also shares in that belief. She goes on to say that while pitching Eternals, she used stills from his films. She also mentioned that she has always appreciated creators who have a strong hand in world-building:

Oh, my gosh. Okay, well, I would like to apply for a job on your set to be your assistant. You know, when I went to pitch Eternals, I had stills from your films as references. I’m naturally drawn to filmmakers who have a very strong hand in world building. When I watch your films, even though they’re of different genres, from Sicario to Arrival to Prisoners and then Blade Runner 2049, you managed to build such visceral worlds I can feel and almost touch.

Chloé Zhao
Marvel Studios’ Eternals

If you look at the filmography of both directors, you will conclude that they both come from similar filmmaking backgrounds. Both have roots in non-fiction cinema, where they focus on reflective and intimate experiences with their characters. In both of them, one can notice the influence of direct cinema, which has been later successfully incorporated into mainstream cinema.

Although the premiere of Eternals is still ahead of us, promotional materials tease some visual inspirations taken from Denis‘ works. Among others, the Eternals’ ship with its brutalist and austere shape, embedded in the natural landscape, brings to mind the monumental Heptapod ship in a similar aesthetic from Villeneuve‘s Arrival.

Source: Harper’s Bazaar

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