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Angelina Jolie Speaks Out Against That Big Eternals Ban

Even among the star-studded cast of "Eternals," actress Angelina Jolie is easily the most recognizable star of the newest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "Eternals," which opened in theaters in the United States today, features Jolie in one of the central roles of the film. Jolie plays one of the Eternals, an ancient being named Thena. In Jack Kirby's original comic books series, Thena carries on a love affair with Kro, the leader of the Deviants and the number one enemy to all Eternals. In the last moments of the final trailer for the film, Thena is seen being held closely by Kro.

However, Thena's intimate scenes with Kro aren't the ones causing problems for Disney at the moment. The countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman have all refused to screen the film as a result of the homosexual relationship between Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and his husband, Ben (Haaz Sleiman), according to The Hollywood Reporter. Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar; it is technically legal in Bahrain, though LGBTQ citizens continue to face many discriminations (via Equaldex).

"Eternals" is the first film in the MCU to prominently feature a same-sex couple. Each country insists that the only way the film will be allowed to play in their theaters is if Marvel and Disney provide a censored version of it, with scenes between Phastos and Ben removed. Disney has refused these requests. As a result, the film is effectively banned in all five countries. In response, Jolie is speaking out against the attempts to censor or ban the film. 

Angelina Jolie called the ban 'ignorant'

In response to a question from news.com.au during a press conference to promote the release of "Eternals," Angelina Jolie lamented the fact that audiences in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman will be unable to see the film. She added that despite her sadness for the people of those countries, she is "proud of Marvel for refusing to cut those scenes out." 

Jolie continued, "I still don't understand how we live in a world today where there's still [people who] would not see the family Phastos has and the beauty of that relationship and that love," Jolie said. "How anybody is angry about it, threatened by it, doesn't approve or appreciate it is ignorant."

Jolie's comments closely align with remarks from "Eternals" director Chloé Zhao. In an interview with Variety, Zhao stressed that she believes representation in film is important, but not because of "a message we're trying to put out." Zhao continued that "finding authenticity in moments like that is crucial, so it doesn't feel forced, so you could actually relate to them. That's the most important thing. It's not just about being the first. It's about do you actually feel for them, whether you're gay or straight or whatever."