Eternals Star Lia McHugh Had To Speak An Impressive Number Of Languages For The Movie, And They Aren’t All In The Final Cut

The various members of the titular group in Chloé Zhao’s Eternals all have their own specific powers, be it Richard Madden’s Ikaris being able to fly, or Barry Keoghan’s Druig controlling minds, but they also have the gifts that come along with being on Earth for 7,000 years. Having been around to see the formations of societies around the planet, they are deeply familiar with the history of the world’s various cultures. This is a detail that is made a part of all the Eternals characters and the actors’ performances, but it’s most notably illustrated by Lia McHugh, who speaks a wider range of languages than any of her co-stars in her turn as Sprite.

Speaking with the young actor last month during the virtual press day for Eternals, I asked about her experience preparing for and executing her non-English scenes. She noted that it was a lot for her to take on, but she found herself particularly motivated to do well because she didn’t want to screw up in the making of a Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster. Said McHugh,

I mean, I think that they dumped all of the language on me. I think I spoke the most different languages in the movie; it didn't all make it in. But I was not going to mess up on a Marvel set. I was like, 'There's no way; I have to get this perfect.'

Among the Eternals, Sprite stands out because she forever looks like a child – despite the fact that she is the same age as her colleagues. Her special ability is the capacity to project illusions, which she regularly uses for the purposes of telling stories, but she also uses it for disguise and deception. When you take that in mind, it makes all the sense in the world that she would be particularly adept and focused when it comes to speaking multiple languages.

Continuing, Lia McHugh added that she actually had a kind of linguistic trial-by-fire experience in the making of Eternals, as she was moved away from her native tongue during her very first day on set. She added,

My first day I spoke Spanish and then I had a whole page speech in Babylonian – speaking gibberish. I had sign language. I spoke a couple other languages that didn't make it in also. But yeah, Chloé [Zhao]... once I started doing it pretty well, Chloé was like, 'Oh, let me give you some more!'

It’s not an easy task for a 14-year-old actor to take on, but it’s an impressive aspect of Lia McHugh’s performance.

The wide variety of languages speaks to the broad scope of Eternals, which audiences everywhere will be able to see exclusively on the big screen this Friday, November 5. To learn about everything that is on the way from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the coming years, be sure to check out our Upcoming Marvel Movies guide.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.