Weeks back, we wrote about Lauren Ridloff, star of Marvel’s “Eternals,” making history by becoming the MCU’s first-ever deaf superhero.
Ridloff, who has been deaf since birth, plays Makkari in “Eternals,” who is also deaf. Lauren recently spoke to Cosmopolitan about the impact Makkari has had on the people’s interest in learning sign language and the superpowers the deaf community possesses.
Ridloff says it wasn’t until she saw viewers’ reactions to seeing Makkari on screen that she realized her character’s true impact.
“All the cheering when Makkari actually came up on the screen—I realized that this film really is so much more than just a basic superhero idea,” she gushed. “It’s actually about showcasing people that you see every day on screen. You see people that are different sizes and shapes and different colors with different abilities. I think it’s just lovely to see all that actually work together for that common goal.”
According to research done by Preply, there has been a 250% jump in searches for “learn sign language for beginners” this year. While “Eternals” is not entirely responsible for the spike, Ridloff’s performance as Makkari has added to the boost.
“I do like the idea of Makkari introducing sign language to civilization. I think it’s clear that the Eternals left their mark in very different ways. Phastos created the plow and also he’s behind Hiroshima,” says Ridloff. “I really loved what they did for Makkari in the end credits. They had hieroglyphics and also blended in some sign language to it and I thought that was just a clever way of signifying her impact.”
Ridloff explains that the discussion around how Makkari would communicate evolved throughout filming the movie.
“It wasn’t until later in the shooting process that we finally got to the decision that Makkari would use a blend of sign language and also draw from her superpowers in regards to sound and her sonic boom and vibrations,” she explains, adding, “In the beginning, when Makkari saves the little boy, she sensed something. It wasn’t from looking at him. She felt it, and I hope that people picked up on those little acting nuances throughout the movie.”
However, Ridloff says it wasn’t too far off from her own experiences in her real life.
“Speaking for myself as Lauren, I definitely use vibration to inform me of what’s going on around me,” she shares. “Just the other day, I was out playing with my boys and I was showing them that I could feel their footsteps behind me. It was a learning experience for them. So those little things that I really feel it is a superpower that Deaf people actually have, and I’m happy to include that within the story.”
Watch the trailer below.