Salma Hayek Says Playing a Superhero at 54 in 'The Eternals' 'Moved' Her: 'It Was Empowering'

The Eternals, directed by Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao, will also star Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden and Kumail Nanjiani

Salma Hayek
Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty

Salma Hayek might be sworn to secrecy by Marvel on details surrounding the upcoming superhero film The Eternals, but the actress is giving fans a tidbit of what to expect.

In a conversation with Variety published on Wednesday, Hayek said that playing the character of Ajak was an experience she'd never forget.

"It was empowering," Hayek, 54, revealed. "It really moved me. …They told me [early in my career]], 'It's never going to happen for you here.'"

But now, the Mexican-American actress is "representing."

"It's not because I'm putting on an outfit but we get the right to be superheroes today," she said. "I'm also 54. So there was something really moving, not just for me, but for everything, all the different stereotypes. She's not sexy. You know what I'm saying? She's not sexy at all."

She added, "I'm very short. I've been bullied for being short my entire life. And suddenly, it doesn't matter. You're a superhero in the Marvel universe. It moved me."

Hayek revealed she was not allowed to read the script before signing on to the film, which also stars Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington, Ma Dong-seok, Gemma Chan, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry and Haaz Sleiman.

"I was scared," Hayek said of possibly not liking the script. "But it doesn't matter because I'm going to tell you why I didn't care. I love the director [Golden Globe nominee Chloé Zhao]. She's brilliant."

The Oscar nominee continued, "And then I like that [Ajak] is kind of the leader. She's the only one that can talk to the Celestials. And I said, 'I'll get to be bossy on this one, too. I can play that.' Giving instructions, telling people what to do, I can do that. Then I was afraid of the outfit. I'm claustrophobic. I was very afraid that I was going to feel like I couldn't move."

"It has a completely different DNA from the [other Marvel movies]. It's shot different than all the other ones. It's in real locations and they found some crazy extraterrestrial-looking locations," she added. "I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about what they do with the camera, but…it's not mostly done in post. The cinematography is incredible."

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