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Gemma Chan

Gemma Chan On Eternals, MCU & Reconnecting With Her Heritage

With one Marvel Universe blockbuster already under her belt, GEMMA CHAN is reentering the epic cinematic realm with a leading role in Eternals. She talks to SOPHIA LI about reconnecting with her heritage, our responsibility to the world, and why this superhero casting came as such a surprise

Photography Annie LaiStyling Marquessa Lucas-Box
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This image: shirt, pants, and belt, all Chloé; turtleneck, The Row; ring, Sophie Buhai; Opening image: dress, Petar Petrov; earrings, Chloé

Gemma Chan has had a challenging week: her foot is currently in an orthopedic boot following a recent injury, her beloved cat has had a fall from the roof of her London home (he is healing quite well, she assures me) and, the morning after we speak, she will be flying more than 5,000 miles to embark on a world tour unveiling her biggest project yet.

Between visits to the vet and her own doctor, with numerous red-carpet appearances about to ensue, this week is still the calm before the storm. The storm is Marvel’s latest highly anticipated blockbuster, Eternals – “It’s a very ambitious film. The scale of it is epic, covering the span of 7,000 years,” Chan shares, excited – and the 38-year-old actor is in one of those rare moments of relative stillness when you know that life will never be quite the same again. She has already had a whirlwind year: Disney’s animated adventure Raya and the Last Dragon, in which she starred, grossed over $130 million at the box office, and after Eternals she will be kicking off 2022 with the release of psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde. Then we will see Chan in Extrapolations, a star-studded anthology series by Scott Z. Burns based on the impacts of climate change.

Chan and I first met at the tail-end of another pivotal period for the actor, at the 2019 APEX for Youth Inspiration Awards Gala in New York, where she was being honored. It was the year after Crazy Rich Asians had become the highest-grossing romantic comedy in a decade, catapulting her to international stardom.