The Eternals star opens up about both of those credits scenes and MCU future — which she hopes includes some screen time with Spider-Man.
Working with Marvel means having to keep some pretty big secrets — secrets “Eternals” star Lia McHugh couldn’t quite get into when we first spoke with her around the movie’s theatrical release. But now that the movie is sitting pretty on Disney+ and coming to home video next month, all bets are finally off.
Warning: This article and the video below are both about to dive into some serious spoilers.
In the film, McHugh plays one of the titular superheroes, who have been sent to Earth to protect humans from creatures called Deviants. The 17-year-old actress stars as Sprite, a 7,000-year-old soul trapped in the body of a 12-year-old girl. By the end of the film, she agrees to give up her mischievous powers to become human, leaving the character with an uncertain future alongside her immortal besties.
The finale of the movie also teases two additional developments — 1.) the arrival of Thanos’ brother Eros, played by Harry Styles and 2.) a Black Knight setup for Kit Harington’s character Dane Whitman.
Ahead of the film’s home video release on February 15, TooFab caught up with McHugh again to dive into those spoilers, working with both Styles and Harington and her hopes for the future of her character — which include a Spider-Man crossover.
It’s been a three year journey and this home video release is kind of the last chapter of this Eternals experience — looking back, starting with the Comic-Con announcement of the cast, what has been the most surreal aspect of this journey?
I probably couldn’t even put my finger on it. Comic-Con was probably one of the biggest things, because it was the first exposure I got to the MCU and meeting everyone. It was like my first taste of the scale of Marvel and it was so shocking and unexpected, that made the most impact. D23 was incredible, when I went to London for the first time and got to go to set, honestly, just day to day working. I act because I love doing it, I love what I do and I love working, so that was probably my favorite part of it, when I got to be on set, creating the character and working on the role.
Now you couldn’t talk about Harry Styles when I last spoke with you, but his casting has since been confirmed officially, you’ve shared photos with him from set, he has a poster. What was your initial reaction when you learned he’d be in the movie?
Chloe like kept him in her back pocket. I think he was on board since the beginning and I think she kept him a secret for a while and it was halfway through shooting, she like loves him, I love him too. The fanbase he has is crazy and we’re fascinated with him, she loves him and he’s really cool and she told me and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I think I saw rumors of it and I asked Chloe about it and she told me. She was like, ‘Do you want to see his superhero suit?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to see his super suit.’ One day she was like, ‘If you’re busy, you don’t have to, I don’t know if you want to, but Harry invited us to a concert. You and your mom and your sister.’ I was like, ‘Yes, of course I wanna go!’ It was like a private event thing and it was crazy, we went in his personal trailer before the show and went up to a private lounge. I love him so much, I was fan-girling and freaking out.
The cast has spoken a bit about a scene you all filmed with him that didn’t make the final cut. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Are you happy they went in this other direction where he’s the big credits reveal?
Yeah, I think he had a much bigger, more impactful role in the re-write. The way we shot it, it was like a parallel of the first scene of the movie where we’re all sitting in a circle. So we shot the first scene and the very last scene on the same day, because they were all the same exact shots, so they would just switch out the characters. All 10 of us and Harry were on set at the same time working on that. So we were just passing each other back and forth and talking and it was cool. He really just jumped into the deep end and just met everyone, like, ‘Hey, what’s up guys!”
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One of the deleted scenes shows you spending some time at the museum with Kit Harington. Can you talk a little about working with him?
I love Kit. We actually got paired with each other a lot for press and people were like, that’s interesting, they were a little bit surprised because we didn’t have a ton of screen time together. But I was like, we had this big scene that didn’t make it into the movie. We got to know each other pretty well that day. It was a lot longer, the scene that we shot, they shortened it I believe. It was pages and we were in this museum together just the two of us all day. He’s great, he’s such a funny guy and he’s really interesting and he’s been through the industry a lot too and he had a lot of interesting things to say. I loved working with him, he’s a great guy.
How do you think he’ll fare once he hits his superhero potential? [The final, post-credits scene of the film teases Dane Whitman’s Black Night alter-ego and connection to Mahershala Ali’s Blade, who can be heard in a voice cameo.]
I don’t know! He doesn’t know either. They don’t really tell us anything. They just slip it in there, let you wonder and maybe one day tell you. I don’t know, I don’t think we’re going to find out for a little while. But I’m excited for him. He’s a really hard worker and he deserves it, it’s going to be cool.
By the end of the movie, Sprite agrees to give up her powers to become human. Obviously, it works from a story perspective — but it also allows you to age with the character should Sprite return down the line. Do you know if that was part of the decision?
I think it made a lot of sense for the character for her to choose that, because she was very miserable in her life and I think that’s honestly what she’s been wanting deep down inside, in her heart all along. I think it’s really a beautiful, special moment that she gets to grow up. I’m super excited to see where that takes her. It probably had something to do with me aging, I’m not sure. They just gave me the script and okay, I’ll do it!
We know the Eternals will return in some form, somewhere, what do you hope we get to see from Sprite in the future?
I love the name Sprite, I hope she keeps it. I like to think of her going a little wild when she gets the chance to grow up and be a woman and be a girl and I just think it’s funny to have the Eternals come back and see she’s been going wild, spending Kingo’s money. I just think that would be funny.
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The MCU is known for its crossovers. Is there a character you’d love to see Sprite interact with … or just an actor you would love to share some screen with?
I love Tom Holland, I met him and he was just the nicest guy and I also love Spider-Man, so I think that would be a funny, interesting duo.
They are similar ages, in theory! You also posted some photos and video of the wirework and stunts involved in the film. What was that experience like for you and what was the most challenging part of that?
I only got to do like 2 or 3 stunt things and I was really excited for it. I was ready to be impressive and be like, I can do my own stunts, I’m so cool. But it’s a lot harder than it looks. There’s a scene where I’m fighting the Deviant and I don’t know what it is, I’m really good at memorizing lines, but for some reason when you’re on a wire, in the air — and it’s almost like a choreographed dance when you’re doing it, it’s very specific — I could not for the life of me remember my line. It was one line, I had to say something like ‘Hurry up,’ it was so stupid and I could not remember it no matter what I did. Eventually I got it, but we had to do it a few times. I was so humiliated and embarrassed, like, this is like my second week and I can’t even remember my line! We ended up getting it, it was great, but it’s pretty stressful. I had like bruises from the wire all day being rigged up. It’s also annoying to have a harness on under your clothes, it makes you feel really fat. It just widens you a whole lot.
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Having gone through that and then seeing the finished product, how did it feel to see that movie magic in motion?
It’s almost like weird for me to watch it. We were in Camden, we’re like running from a Deviant and I’m like, that wasn’t there. It’s very strange!
One of the best things about a home video release is the gag reel. When you’re filming, do you know, like, “Oh yeah, that’s gonna end up on it”?
Everyone does it, everytime one of us screws up or messes up a line and starts laughing, they’re like, ‘Gag reel!’ They probably could have made a 30-minute gag reel and I wish they did because it’s so fun to watch.
Outside of the MCU, what else are you working on now? Anything to tease?
I have exciting future possibilities that I cannot share at the moment but I will let you know!
“Eternals” is now available on Digital and Disney+ and will be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD February 15.
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