Film & TV

Meet Lauren Ridloff, the Actor Who Plays Marvel's First Deaf Superhero in 'Eternals'

She shares her favorite moments on set portraying Makkari.

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Meet Lauren Ridloff, the Actor Who Plays Marvel's First Deaf Superhero in 'Eternals'

She shares her favorite moments on set portraying Makkari.

Eternals, the latest movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, marks a huge step for diversity in the film industry. In addition to featuring MCU’s first LGBTQ+ family, the Chloé Zhao-directed title also depicts Marvel’s first deaf superhero, Makkari.

The character — a male in the original comic series — is portrayed by Lauren Ridloff, a deaf actor known for her role as Connie in The Walking Dead. In Eternals, Ridloff appears alongside a star-studded cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan and Salma Hayek. With her ability to travel faster than the speed of sound, as well as her chemistry with mindreader Druig (Barry Keoghan), Makkari is already a favorite among fans.

“I felt that [my castmates] learned from me as much as I did from them. They learned how to share a space with a deaf person,” the actor tells us. “I also learned a lot from them in regards to how to just do my job in the best way that I possibly can.”

Read on for our interview with Ridloff, in which she recalls her earliest memory of the Marvel series, as well as her favorite moments on set.

Eternals is now playing in theaters.

What’s the earliest memory you have of the MCU, and what was your initial reaction when you heard about the opportunity of starring in Eternals?

I remember that my older sister had a huge collection of Marvel comic books. She kept them in a box and filed everything in a very specific order. As her little sister, I wasn’t supposed to go into her room or touch her collection. One day, I snuck in there, took them all out in the backyard. I went through them and it was like a magic world. I forgot to put everything back and left the whole collection outside, leaving it to soak in the rain. So, when I first found out that I was going to join the MCU, it was like the best apology for my older sister. She might forgive me now.

How do you connect with Makkari on a personal level? What are some similarities you share with the character?

I connect with Makkari as she’s deaf. So of course, we share similarities in the way that we go through life. I also love running.

What were some expectations you had of starring in Eternals that turned out to be completely different?

My relationship with the cast. I did not expect to have this much time with the cast and I was really surprised at how many wonderful, special, honest conversations I got to have with the members. I felt that they learned from me as much as I did from them. They learned how to share a space with a deaf person. I also learned a lot from them in regards to how to just do my job in the best way that I possibly can.

If you had to choose, what was the most memorable moment of the production process? 

I can’t just pick one moment. I think one of my favorite moments other than meeting Salma’s pet owl — which was pretty amazing — was the day all of us put on our superhero outfits for the first time as a group. We were standing there on a really windy cliff, and we just stood there and took time, and looked at each other. I think that moment was when all of us felt the impact of this all.

As an actor who has starred in an MCU movie, what is something you would like to tell your 10-year-old self?

Don’t worry so much. You are beautiful, you are important, you are powerful. People will see that.

Other than the power of super-speed, which your character Makkari has, what is a superpower you’d like to have and why?

I would love to have Druig’s superpower. He could just get into people’s minds — imagine what he could do with that kind of power. Let’s just say, I would probably stop all the climate issues in a snap.

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