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How Eternals’ Lauren Ridloff Helped Make The Movie’s Super Speed Sequences Special

Between multiple versions of Quicksilver and multiple versions of The Flash alone, comic book adaptations have featured a number of live-action interpretations of super speed, and in Chloé Zhao’s Eternals Lauren Ridloff adds to that legacy. Each of the characters in the titular team has their own unique power, and Ridloff plays Makkari, who can traverse the circumference of the world in an instant. As familiar as the ability is, however, Ridloff made a point of making her hero’s movement stand out compared to what we’ve seen in other blockbusters, and she did that by specifically, in her words, running “like a girl.”

I spoke with Lauren Ridloff last month during the virtual press day for Eternals, where she was paired with co-star Kumail Nanjiani, and one of the questions I asked in the interview was about the approach that she and Chloé Zhao took to her superpower, and what it was like seeing it on the big screen. She explained that it was something that she and the director had conversations about, including on set when figuring out the physicality of it. Said Ridloff,

Oh, wow. It was a long wait to finally be able to see the result of all that hard work. And I'm so happy with what I saw. And honestly, I had no idea exactly how my speed was going to be portrayed on the screen. And Chloe and I had talked about what my running style would look like, and she talked about how she wanted me to move, how my stops would look. And so we did create this style.

Continuing, she added that she wanted Makkari's speed to specifically have a feminine energy, and that was something that she kept in mind during her performance:

In my mind, I was like, 'I'm going to run like a girl. I'm not going to run like the other speedsters, in some of the other comic worlds, because those have all been men and it's a very specific look.'

While comic book fans have seen female speedsters depicted on The Flash television series in the ArrowVerse, she is absolutely correct in identifying that the vast majority of big screen versions have been men. Because men and women are biologically constructed differently, they run differently, and that was something that Lauren Ridloff didn’t want to shy away from; she wanted to emphasize it.

Echoing the attitude of Makkari, Ridloff and Chloé Zhao additionally talked about her keeping the character’s physicality loose while running, and about being unafraid to take purposeful missteps. The actor added,

I really wanted to keep it relaxed. Chloe wanted it to be relaxed and flexible, and she wanted me to practice stumbling a little bit. We wanted to incorporate all that as well. And the VFX work, it was amazing. It was cosmic.

You can now see Lauren Ridloff showing off her kick-ass super speed powers in Eternals, which is playing in theaters everywhere. And while we don’t yet know what Marvel Cinematic Universe project she’ll next appear in, you can keep track of everything that the franchise has in the works for the big screen by reading our Upcoming Marvel Movies guide.

Eric Eisenberg

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