‘Eternals’ Star Lauren Ridloff on Being the MCU’s First Deaf Superhero: ‘I Was Concerned About Seeming Too Fragile’

by Shine My Crown Staff
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Lauren Ridloff, star of Marvel’s “Eternals,” made history by becoming the MCU’s first-ever deaf superhero.

Ridloff, who has been deaf since birth, plays Makkari in “Eternals.” Makkari is also deaf.

In an interview with The New York Times, Ridloff shared how she landed the role.

“I brought my son to an audition — I can’t tell you what for! — and the casting director saw me and wanted to cast me for something else,” she explained.

“Then a few months later the casting director reached out to my manager and said, “We want to consider Lauren for a Marvel film, and I can’t tell you what it is.” I was like, ‘Wait, this is Marvel, seriously?” My first thought was maybe it would be “Black Panther.” Then I got the call that the director of the movie wanted to meet with me, so I dropped everything and came to L.A. Chloé Zhao and [executive producer] Nate Moore broke everything down and asked if I was interested.”

Ridloff says that her answer was an “immediate yes.”

Ridloff began filming, but at times she felt unsure about asking for what she needed. “I was concerned about seeming too fragile,” she said. She soon realized that everybody had their own needs and wants — and began to feel unapologetic for making hers known.

Ridloff enjoyed filming the movie. Of course. A Marvel movie is every comic fan’s dream. However, filming did not come without its challenges — but for every problem, there is a solution.

“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,” she recalled. “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!”

Ridloff feels Hollywood should make an effort to include more deaf actors, screenwriters and creative talent overall.

Being one of the few deaf actors in the spotlight is a heavy burden.

“I’m not going to lie, I do feel the pressure and stress sometimes, and that can be a burden. I have to remember that it’s not my job to inspire others, or to be a model — but what I do have is the ability to create those connections,” she adds.

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