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‘Eternals’ Star Lauren Ridloff Opens Up About Being Marvel’s First Deaf Hero And Shares How Co-Star Angelina Jolie Helped Make The Set More Accessible

It’s been a big year for Marvel in terms of bringing new and more diverse talent front-and-center. Earlier this year, we finally saw the MCU’s first female super hero — Black Widow — get the solo film she’d been gunning for since 2010’s Iron Man 2. Just last month, Simu Liu made news as the franchise’s first Chinese super hero in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and as of now, we are less than two months away from the highly-anticipated Eternals — which means also witnessing the first deaf Marvel hero in action.

In a new interview with the New York Times, Lauren Ridloff — a deaf actress best known for her portrayal of The Walking Dead‘s Connie — opened up about her role as Makkari in the upcoming MCU film, sharing what the role means to her as well as some stories from on set. According to Ridloff, while she arrived on set convinced she “had to show how easy [she was] to work with as a deaf person,” she soon realized “everyone has their own unique set of challenges” and made a point to stop apologizing for her needs on set. She also talked about how Hollywood and theaters can be more accessible to people who are deaf, as well as mentioned how this role meant her two deaf sons would “grow up in a world where there are superheroes who are deaf” and could therefore “dream a bit more wildly.”

During the interview, Ridloff also shared a touching story in which none other than c0-star Angelina Jolie helped the actress find a fix to one of her most difficult scenes to shoot. According to Ridloff:

“In some scenes, I had to face a wall. As a deaf person, how do you cue me? At one point, I was sharing my frustration with Angie — Angelina Jolie — at a holiday party after a day of shooting. And she immediately made a suggestion, ‘why don’t we use a laser pen that special effects can easily erase?’ It was an ‘Aha, wow’ moment. Whenever I’m looking at a wall, the interpreters would use a laser pen to make a circle on the wall — ‘rolling, rolling, rolling’ — and once it went away that meant, ‘Action!'”

Luckily for us, we’ll get the chance to watch see this scene (and this ingenious trick in action) in just a couple of months, as Marvel’s Eternals hits theaters exclusively on November 5.

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