Chloé Zhao will be the first female Asian director for a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Chloé Zhao is a director, producer, and screenwriter who is very well known for her American films. The Chinese origin director has come a long way from winning the Best Student Live Action Short at the 2010 Palm Springs International ShortFest for her short film Daughters to directing one of the biggest movies in the upcoming MCU phase Four.
Chloé Zhao debuted as a director with the 2015 feature film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, her other feature film came out in 2017, known as The Rider, the movie received several awards and earned critical acclaim.
Zhao Ting was born to Zhao Yuji, a former general manager at a steel company. Chloé Zhao was raised in Beijing, and after her parents separated, her father remarried the actress Song Dandan.
In her early years, she was a very rebellious child and was very drawn to the influences of Western pop culture. Thus it is no surprise that she moved to Los Angeles to finish her high school after attending a boarding school in London.
Chloé Zhao got her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, Massachusetts) in Political Science. She then worked odd jobs including that of a bartender, a party promoter, and she even worked in real estate.
The bartending job was the one that was the most important in Zhao’s life because that’s where she came to understand that she enjoyed learning about and studying the life stories of other people. After which Zhao joined the New York University Tisch School of the Arts to study film.
Zhao’s Upcoming projects
After gaining recognition through her earlier projects, Zhao moved on to more significant projects and the last few years have been good for her. In April 2018, Amazon studio green-lit the Bass Reeves biopic which is about the first U.S, Deputy Marshal who’s black, the biopic is going to be directed by Zhao, and also she will work on the screenplay.
Another project that she got was the movie Nomadland, which is all too familiar for Zhao, as she has done movies that focus on native Americans, cowboys, and others. The film will put her back to her old grounds from The Rider, the New York Film Festival.
One of the most significant projects that Zhao managed to get in the past few years is one of the most awaited movies going to release in 2021, featuring a star-studded cast and set in the multi-billion dollar MCU franchise, The Eternals.
Marvel Studios hired Chloé Zhao as the director of the movie in September 2018. Here are the details about Zhao’s upcoming film.
The Eternals is an upcoming movie that is going to be a part of phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film will introduce The Eternals, a race of aliens to the MCU which were introduced in the comic book series of the same name and are a god-like species.
The hiring of an indie director for a big-budget movie filled with a high profile cast such as Angelina Jolie came as a surprise for everyone. Still, the hiring of a female director wasn’t, as the trend seems to be going around in 2020 with four major films in the superhero genre being directed by women.
Marvel had their eyes on Chloé Zhao for a long time as at one time she was even a contender for directing Black Widow. However, she was later hired for The Eternals it is reported that the interview with the executives at Marvel went so well that they hired Zhao on the spot.
And the praise comes from all sides as Angelina Jolie, who is one of the prominent members of The Eternals, praised Chloe while talking to People magazine. Her exact words were, “I think Chloé Zhao is going to make a special Marvel film. With all the love and respect for others and what makes them work, we hope to add something new.”
Nomadland is an upcoming movie by Chloe Zhao, the film follows the story of a woman who sets off on a journey to explore life similar to that of a nomad but a modern nomad, the reason for her leaving her town in rural Nevada is the economic downfall of her company.
The movie is an adaption of a non-fiction book of the same name by Jessica Bruder. It stars David Strathairn and Frances McDormand. The film also involves some real nomads like Linda May, Bob Wells and Swankie who are featured in the book.
After The Rider (2017), this will be the second appearance for Chloé Zhao at the New York Film Festival, Zhao said in a statement that, “I’m very excited and proud that Nomadland will screen at NYFF. I learned how to make films in New York City at NYU. This wonderful, brave, and inspiring city means a lot to me. I’m so thankful for NYFF to invite me back to connect with its audiences.”
The career of the up-and-coming director
A career as a director for Zhao started in 2010 when she won the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Cinequest Film Festival and Best Live Action Short at the 2010 Palm Springs International ShortFest for her short film Daughters.
The next prominent work of Zhao came as a feature film that came out in 2015, the movie Songs My Brothers Taught Me, the movie was shot in South Dakota and followed the story of a brother and his younger sister.
2017 saw another feature film, The Rider, a drama that follows the journey of self-discovery of a young cowboy who suffered a news death accident that ended his professional career. For the movie, Zhao cast non-actors who lived near the filming location, the film took inspiration from Zhao’s friend who went through the same circumstances as the cowboy.
The Rider earned Zhao nominations for Best Director and Best Feature at the 33rd Independent Spirit Awards. At the award function, Zhao won the Bonnie Award, an award given to mid-career woman directors. The film was even released to critical acclaim by Sony Pictures Classics in 2018.
It will be fascinating to see how the movies pan out, and if Zhao manages to live up to the expectations that are put on the showrunners behind big films such as the MCU franchise’s, The Eternals.
Stay tuned to The Hollywood Tribune for the latest updates on Chloé Zhao and more news from Hollywood and Beyond.