The actresses will all attend the magazine’s 27th annual Elle Women in Hollywood event this week.
Here’s what they had to share with the mag…
Angelina, on the bond between the four women in the set of The Eternals: “A lot of times as an actress, you’re that individual strong woman, or you have one sister; you don’t often have this family where you really get to know women and see all the different strengths. Gemma’s grace and elegance and the way she walks through the world. Salma’s motherhood and power, and Lauren’s connection and intelligence. Everybody came as themselves. Maybe there’s something to that, that the characters weren’t as far off [from ourselves]. I think there’s a secret that we don’t know that our director knows, because if you look at her films, she casts a lot of real people as their roles and it shapes her films.”
Salma, on being cast in the film and feeling seen by director Chloe Zhao: “One day I got the call and I’m like, ‘What?’ And I thought, Okay, I’m going to play the grandmother. I never thought I was going to be one of the Eternals. It doesn’t happen. It’s never happened to me like that before without a fight and like, ‘I can do this, please hire me!’ When she told me I was one of them, I was like, ‘Me, Mexican, Middle Eastern? Me, in my fifties? I’m going to be a superhero in a Marvel movie?’ Sometimes as a woman, as a woman of color and with the age, you feel so overlooked. It was one of those moments where you think, Okay, I held on in this industry, survived for this long. I just felt acknowledged by somebody I admire and didn’t know she was watching me. I kept feeling like, S–t, this one is cool. She’s got balls, she’s interesting.”
Lauren, on playing the first deaf character in a Marvel movie: “I have to say, it was something that I didn’t even think about. I just knew it was the right thing for me to do, for somebody like myself, a woman, a person of color who is deaf. With this film…I think it’s an opportunity for us to show representation on the screen. It’s clear, it’s not hidden. Obviously, our differences are apparent: our race, our culture, our values, our abilities. But I think our representation, it doesn’t carry the story. It’s not the point of the story, but it’s still refreshing. It’s new.”
Gemma, on the scope of Marvel’s global influence: “There’s a place for different kinds of films and different kinds of storytelling. For me, one of the most powerful things about Marvel films is that they are seen globally—the reach of them. That’s an in- credibly powerful thing. I love the fact that Marvel has been bringing in directors from the independent film world who have a unique point of view on the world. You think about the diversity of this cast and what message that’s going to send to all corners of the globe. I love independent film, but the reality is that maybe a smaller indie film is not going to have that reach. There is something about the potential and the impact that these films can have, which is amazing.”
Jodie, on her role in Matt Damon and Ben Affleck‘s historical drama The Last Duel: “People keep saying, ‘Oh, it’s just so relevant,’ and I’m like, That’s so sad, because we could say that for every period in history. There’s never been a decade when a woman hasn’t spoken her truth and been shamed for it.”
Halle, on why she wanted to take on her upcoming film Bruised, which she directs and stars in: “Fighting for the right to be is something that I know. I started my career 30 years ago when Black women didn’t really have a prominent place in the industry, so I understand what it is to fight for what you believe in. I love stories that are about redemption, allowing people second chances—and in our case, last chances. I love knowing that we can all make mistakes and be forgiven.”
Gal, on standing up for herself after allegedly being mistreated by Joss Whedon on Justice League: “Oh, I was shaking trees as soon as it happened. And I must say that the heads of Warner Brothers, they took care of it…. Going back to the sense of righteousness that I have…you’re dizzy because you can’t believe this was just said to you. And if he says it to me, then obviously he says it to many other people. I just did what I felt like I had to do. And it was to tell people that it’s not okay. I would’ve done the same thing, I think, if I was a man. Would he tell me what he told me had I been a man? I don’t know. We’ll never know. But my sense of justice is very strong. I was shocked by the way that he spoke to me. But whatever, it’s done. Water under the bridge.”
Rita, on activism and why Hollywood needs to take steps to address ageism: “Standing up for causes may not have been the safest thing for my career, but that’s when my conscience came into play. I decided a long time ago we have to help people when we can and if we’re able to… Hollywood hasn’t even begun to address [ageism], considering the doting-grandmother typecasting that happens to silver-haired women like me.”
Jennifer, on her role as Aretha Franklin and receiving the singer’s approval to play her in her biopic: “I sit and think about it, like, What artist is built like that? She was music. She was anointed, and her life was anointed… It was my dream to play her. So then for her to say she wanted me to play her, it was a dream come true.”
For more from the stars, visit Elle.com and look out for the magazine, on newsstands November 2.