Eternals director Chloe Zhao recently discussed the inclusion of gay Phastos and his family and noted there is actually no reason to include him and his family in the film if the audience doesn’t feel it.
Zhao spoke to IndieWire about the film as the press tour for the movie ramps up for its November 5th release date.
First, she admitted that Phastos had already been made gay before she even signed on to be the film’s director. IndieWire reports, “According to Zhao, introducing the MCU’s first openly gay superhero was already ‘written into the story’ before she signed on as director.”
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige previously confirmed this in an interview with Variety back in April.
When asked if Zhao had anything to do with all of the gender swaps and the inclusion of a gay hero, Feige said, “Well, the notion of switching up the genders, sexualities and ethnicities of the characters from the comics, was baked in initially — that was part of what Nate Moore was really advocating for in moving “Eternals” to the top of the list for us to start working on.”
He added, “What exactly the makeup was between when Nate put together his internal discussion document, which is how we always start on all of our projects, and what she came in and did, I don’t recall exactly.”
Speaking specifically to Phastos’ role in the film, Zhao told IndieWire, “The way Phastos’ story plays out in the film is that he’s someone who only sees humanity as a whole and believes that technology’s going to solve the problem. Obviously, he lost faith in us for some very tough things that we’ve done.”
The director continued, “And then he had to stop looking at us as a whole and look at one person he falls in love with, and one child, to regain the face of humanity. It’s like us turning on the news and thinking it’s completely hopeless and then going home, looking at our lover and our child and going like, ‘Well actually this is worth fighting for.’”
Zhao then detailed that if the audience doesn’t care about Phastos and his family there was no real reason for them to be in the movie.
She explained, “To position that family in that specific situation and to have that moment feel authentic and real…the audience has to feel that to care. Otherwise, there’s no point in putting that onscreen because they don’t feel it.”
Not only did Zhao talk to IndieWire about Phastos and his family’s role in the film, but she also discussed a sex scene that is featured in the film. Like with Phastos, Zhao claims this sex scene was already in the treatment before she joined the movie as its director.
She stated, “From that moment to what you see onscreen there was definitely a lot of discussion about how to do it.”
“But I think the desire to do something different is a very natural desire for where Marvel Studios is right now. I think it’s like Westerns coming into the revisionist period of the 70s. I think it’s happening to superhero films — or at least we’re on the edge of that. And so these scenes just started to happen naturally,” Zhao elaborated.
She then added, “For us to be able to show two people who love each other, not just emotionally and intellectually but also physically, and to have a sex scene that will be seen by a lot of people that shows their love and compassion and gentleness — I think it’s a really beautiful thing.”
What do you make of Zhao’s comments regarding Phastos and his family? What about the inclusion of this sex scene?