Deaf Eternals Star Lauren Ridloff Explains How Angelina Jolie Supported Her During Challenges On Set

When Marvel Studios' Eternals arrives exclusively in theaters later this year, it will make history in more ways than one. But one of the most important ways is that it will feature the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first deaf superhero. Lauren Ridloff co-stars in the film as the Eternal Makkari. As one might expect, playing a deaf superhero was possibly as challenging as being a deaf superhero IRL, but Ridloff reveals one unique challenge on the set was solved after a conversation she had with her Eternals co-star Angelina Jolie.

The issue at hand was figuring out how to cue to Lauren Ridloff in a scene where she wasn't looking at the other people on set. While she had no issues hitting her cues when looking at the other actors, if the scene required her to start looking away from people, she couldn't hear the call of "action." Ridloff tells the New York Times that it was Angelina Jolie who thought of a way to cue her visually that could be erased in post-production. Ridloff explains...

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. 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!'

It's a solution that's as simple as it is brilliant. Pretty much anything could have been used as a visual cue that could have been erased in post-production, but a laser pen is certainly easier to remove than many other things would be, making it the perfect tool for the job. And this is something that Lauren Ridloff can take with her and potentially use on all future film sets as Eternals arrives and helps her star power grow.

Lauren Ridloff also says she has become more comfortable with asking for what she needs on sets. While she admits to previously trying to be as easy as possible to work with, because she was afraid of appearing fragile, Ridloff maintains that every actor has their own needs, their own things that make it easier for them to do their job. That's true of any person in any job and everybody should have the opportunity to get access to the tools they need to get their jobs done, regardless of ability.

Lauren Ridloff's performance of Makkari will be something that all eyes will be on when Eternals comes out, if only because this interpretation of the character is so dramatically different to how the character was conceived in Marvel Comics. We'll get to see it when Eternals arrives November 5.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.