Salma Hayak on Eternals | Dreaming big and what a Latino superhero means

by W. Andrew Powell
Salma Hayak as Ajak

Marvel’s Eternals opens in theatres tomorrow, and the huge superhero film from director Chloé Zhao is not only a new chapter for the MCU, it’s boldly original, especially in the way it avoids superhero tropes and stereotypes.

At the forefront of that vision is the way Eternals was cast, and star Salma Hayak, who plays the leader of the Eternals, Ajak, had a lot to say about how much the role and the opportunity meant to her.

“It’s a really humbling experience because, you know, I dream big,” Hayak said. “I dream big. And if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have gotten here at all, but in my big dreams, I wanted to be a superhero and I wanted to work with the best directors in the world and have big blockbuster movies and also movies that are art, that are made from a very deep place with great directors.”

“You cannot ask for more but that didn’t happen that much for me. And so you fight for it in your twenties, and your thirties, and your forties. You go, ‘ah, screw them. They don’t get it.'”

“‘I would have been great,’ you know… They didn’t see it; screw them. ‘I’m going to go do something else. Let’s have a baby.'”

“And you give up, [but] it’s very humbling, when in the middle of your fifties, a brilliant director gives you the opportunity to do both; do something that comes from a deep place, that is also a big blockbuster.”

“I was wrong. Everything is possible and it’s such a humbling sensation.”

“And when you think about it, you know, [I’m in my] fifties, Mexican, I mean, I’m short with big boobs, it’s not the normal superhero… I don’t have muscles.”

“[T]hey let me do my action even myself. They were not afraid of the insurance that grandma was going to break in the middle of it.”

“And it’s just beautiful that yesterday, when I came out, I nearly cried because I saw this Latino family; a mother with three little girls, all dressed like Ajak, and I was trying to be sexy and I wanted to cry. It was so moving. You know, when they can see themselves in these things.”

Ajak (Salma Hayek) in Marvel Studios’ ETERNALS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Photos courtesy of Marvel Studios.

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