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The Transformation Of Gemma Chan From Childhood To The Eternals

Within just a few months, Gemma Chan will be able to show off her incredible acting abilities in Marvel Studios' "Eternals." Before warding off Deviants as Sersi, the actress spent her childhood in Kent, England. During a June 2021 interview with ELLE UK, she recalled noticing a severe lack of diversity in the entertainment industry during her younger years. "To be honest, there wasn't a great deal of representation of who looked like us or our family. It was very eurocentric in terms of the media and magazines," she pointed out.

Chan's father initially did not want her to be a professional actress, partially because performers of Asian descent seldom had the opportunity to break into the industry. During a March 2019 appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," she explained that she "originally studied law" while attending Worcester College, Oxford. Once she received her degree, she pivoted her focus to the performing arts, which made her mother and father "fearful."

"My dad had a point. He said at the time, you know, it doesn't matter how good you are you're not going to get enough work particularly at that time ... I understand what he said because, you know, 10 years ago when I left drama school like the landscape was very, very different and particularly in the U.K. there weren't many faces that looked like ours on screens. He did have a point," said Chan.

Gemma Chan has been an android & a witch

According to IMDb, Chan was featured in shows like "The IT Crowd," "Secret Diary of a Call Girl," and "Brotherhood." In 2015, she started portraying the synth Mia on "Humans." During a 2016 interview on BBC Radio 1, alongside her co-star Emily Berrington, Chan described the process of portraying an android. "We had an amazing choreographer Dan O'Neill who works with Frantic Assembly and we went to something called 'synth school' to learn — all of us who play synths — the kind of universal language of movement, as it was called, and we basically learned from scratch how to be synths," explained the actress. 

A year after becoming a "Humans" cast member, Chan challenged Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as Madam Ya Zhou during a pivotal point of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." While speaking to Red Carpet News in 2015, Chan shared that she was "such a huge fan of the books and the film." 

Gemma Chan charmed audiences in Crazy Rich Asians

In the 2018 movie "Crazy Rich Asians," Chan charmed audiences with her portrayal of Astrid Young Teo. During a September 2018 interview with The Upcoming, the actress noted that her character "comes from this very wealthy, very privileged background undeniably but she doesn't buy into the trappings of wealth."

"She is a very grounded, very real person. She's got all her own struggles going on in her marriage. So you kind of see this woman who beneath this very glamorous facade, she's unraveling underneath that," said Chan. She went on to say that she "hopes [the film] opens the door to more diverse, authentic storytelling across the board." 

Chan joined forces with her "Crazy Rich Asians" co-star Awkwafina, born Nora Lum, again for the 2021 animated film "Raya and the Last Dragon." She shared in a March 2021 interview that she enjoyed bringing her character Namaari to life, as "she's a fierce warrior" who also happens to have "a real vulnerability."

The actress is a Marvel veteran

"Eternals" is not Chan's first Marvel project, as she also was involved with "Captain Marvel," where she intimidated audiences as Minn-Erva. While speaking to "The IMDb Show" in 2019, she noted that the character is "a member of Starforce, which is an elite unit of Kree warriors." The actress shared that she enjoyed "the physical challenge of playing" Minn-Erva, but had some issues with her costume. "It's very restrictive and they say you have to train for the suit until you are kind of strong enough to move in it," she admitted.

During an August British Vogue interview, she stated that she "never expected to be back in the MCU." Chan also provided some details regarding the highly-anticipated film. "It's an epic story that spans thousands of years, it's real, I think, it a bit of change and a bit of a risk for Marvel. It's a big diverse cast. It's shot in a way as if it's an indie film really, so really majority on location, very little green screen," she shared.