‘Eternals’ Director Chloe Zhao Says She Pitched Marvel Using Stills From Denis Villeneuve Movies Like ‘Sicario’

There’s something incredibly refreshing about two creatives being mutual (and quite vocal) fans of one another, and one of the latest and greatest duos to do so are directors Chloe Zhao (Eternals, Nomadland, The Rider) and Denis Villeneuve (Dune, Sicario, Blade Runner 2049, Arrival). The pair — both known for the visionary and immersive works they’ve created in the last year — each have new and hugely anticipated movies coming this winter: Marvel’s Eternals for Zhao, and Dune for Villeneuve.

In a recent interview from Harper’s Bazaar framed as a conversation between the two directors, Villeneuve gushed to Zhao about her work, calling him her “biggest fan.” Zhao then reciprocated the love, admitting to Villeneuve she actually used still from his films to convey to Marvel her vision of Eternals:

“I would like to apply for a job on your set to be your assistant. You know, when I went to pitch Eternals, I had stills from your films as references. I’m naturally drawn to filmmakers who have a very strong hand in world building. When I watch your films, even though they’re of different genres, from Sicario to Arrival to Prisoners and then Blade Runner 2049, you managed to build such visceral worlds I can feel and almost touch.”

Based on what we’ve seen of Eternals so far, it feels fairly easy to see just where Zhao drew inspiration from Villeneuve. The muted yet intense trailers have a similar feel to films like Arrival, and show a different approach to filming a Marvel movie.

The pair then proceeded to talk about Villeneuve’s recent comments on the failures of streaming movies intended for theater and how they’re both putting all their money on IMAX as the future of cinema. You can read the full interview here.

Villeneuve’s Dune hits theaters and HBO Max on October 22, 2021. You can catch Marvel’s Eternals n theater’s shortly after, on November 5.