Chloé Zhao and the ‘Eternals’ cast on Marvel’s first sex scene and drawing inspiration from ‘The Notebook’

Chloé Zhao, Gemma Chan and Richard Madden talk about Marvel's first sex scene and director Chloé Zhao talks about drawing inspiration from The Notebook for the film's romantic storyline.

Video Transcript

SKEETER DAVIS: (SINGING) 'Cause you don't love me anymore.

- It's beautiful, isn't it?

KEVIN POLOWY: One of my favorite fun facts to learn about this film thus far, producer Nate Moore said on set that the romance at the heart of the film was inspired by "The Notebook," which I love.

CHLOE ZHAO: He said that? [LAUGHS]

KEVIN POLOWY: He did say that.

CHLOE ZHAO: It's a long story. I can't get into it. But no, no, I'm not surprised. There were a few other things, like "Casablanca," "Lust, Caution." There's a couple of other films that we referenced. But, again, "Notebook," this feeling of characters that were in love and now they have to reunite, that they have changed. How can they find each other again? In that sense, for sure.

KEVIN POLOWY: Producer Nate Moore on the set of this film said that your love story, romance here in general, was influenced by "The Notebook."

RICHARD MADDEN: They didn't tell us that.

GEMMA CHAN: Didn't tell us that. [LAUGHS]

KEVIN POLOWY: They didn't tell you that.

GEMMA CHAN: We didn't know that.

RICHARD MADDEN: We didn't know that.

GEMMA CHAN: But that's interesting. No, I mean, for us-- I mean, we've been friends for, you know, over 10 years. And, you know, luckily we have just an ease with each other and a trust.

And, you know, how do you start-- I mean, we talked about, you know, how do you play a couple that have been on and off for 5,000 years? Where do you start with that? They've been through everything together. They've seen everything. What keeps bringing them back together?

KEVIN POLOWY: Do you see "Notebook"-esque qualities come through in the film when you watch it?

KIT HARINGTON: I'm just gonna come straight out there and say I've never seen "The Notebook."

LIA MCHUGH: Yeah, I've never seen "The Notebook."

KIT HARINGTON: That's an awful admission, as I know it's a very good movie, but I'm gonna have to go and watch that. So no, I don't know-- I didn't know that that was the reference, and I-- but now I do, so thank you.

KEVIN POLOWY: It was clearly not mandatory required viewing from Chloe for you guys.

Sersi and Ikaris's romance leads to the MCU's first ever love scene, albeit PG rated. Was there an extra layer of approval needed there to pull that off, considering we've never seen that done before? Like, what sort of discussions did you have with Marvel and Kevin Feige around that scene?

CHLOE ZHAO: You can't tell a love story-- I mean, you can, but it's always a plus to see how these two characters relate to each other physically. You know, it's a very mature romance that they have. So it was written into the treatment when I read it. It remained in the script.

And Gemma and Richard did a wonderful job at the last day-- last light of the day, very sort of intimate moment they had, and we captured it. We edited it together. We did show the folks at Disney, and they were-- they loved it. They thought it was really beautiful. So there was no-- not really a discussion. It just stayed in the film.

KEVIN POLOWY: Were you guys aware that that was breaking ground with that scene, and were you surprised to find that they were gonna include that?

GEMMA CHAN: It was a surprise, really. I feel that, you know, with the characters, to me it's more like a-- it's intimacy between them. You know, and if they've been around for that long and they've been living amongst humanity, they're-- yeah, that's part of it.