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Chloe Zhao Had A Very Unique Initial Pitch For Eternals

Regardless of the current critical reception in advance of the film's release this week, there's no denying that "Eternals" looks to be packing a vibe that's drastically different from a lot of what's come before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The story of a band of god-like beings watching over Earth during its most trying times in history sounds like it may be Marvel's most significant standalone installment yet — one that would need extra special treatment for whichever brave director would be tasked with handling it all.

Thankfully, as revealed to Collider this week, Oscar-winning filmmaker Chloé Zhao had a vision of just how she'd bring this ensemble team of beings from the stars — tasked with watching over a planet constantly at the center of space invasions — to life. The director, who is now most recognized for giving us beautiful vistas with the Frances McDormand-starring "Nomadland," says that her take on the Jack Kirby-created superheroes seemingly began with one of the smallest things imaginable.

Zhao had a big (and small) vision for Eternals

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been built with plenty of impressive and unorthodox pitches over the years, such as Taika Waititi notoriously using "Immigrant Song" when selling his take on "Thor Ragnarok" (via CinemaBlend). For Zhao, she turned to poetry and photos to display what her take on "Eternals" would look like.

"It started with me showing him a macro photo of sand and quoting a poem from William Blake, and I was still allowed to stay in the room, which was really nice," Zhao recalled. "In that poem, Blake was trying to convey that you can see the endless beauty and the meaning of the cosmos within the smallest things you can find on Earth. The vision of the film was to set up and capture the scale of something as large as the creation of the sun and as intimate as the whispers of lovers." 

This intimacy would feed into the relationship between Richard Madden's Ikaris and Gemma Chan's Sersi, two halves of the love story at the center of the film. Clearly, the pitch was a success, allowing Zhao the creative freedom to tell a story which is set to change the MCU forever. "Going on location and doing this kind of immersive shoot, and having the supportive understanding of this amazing cast was how we got here today," she said. 

Not bad for a project that started with just a single grain of sand.