‘Eternals’ — Salma Hayek Was ‘Terrified’ of Her Ajak Costume at First — ‘I’m Not Going To Be Able To Breathe’

Marvel made good on its efforts to increase diversity in their films when they cast Salma Hayek to star in Eternals. The upcoming superhero film—which also stars Angelina Jolie and Kit Harington—features Hayek playing the role of Ajak, which has historically been a male character. 

Hayek’s inclusion in Eternals was a shock to some, including the actor herself. After getting an unexpected call from Marvel, she signed on for the role with no idea what was in store. 

After seeing her Ajak costume for the first time, Hayak wasn’t sure how she was going to survive the role. She was terrified by its look at didn’t think she’d be able to function inside of it. 

Salma Hayek was terrified by her ‘Eternals’ costume 

Salma Hayek attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland
Salma Hayek attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Hayek discussed the challenges she faced with her costume during a recent interview with Variety

“I am claustrophobic. I was terrified of the costume. I was terrified. Because if I cannot move and it’s kind of thick… I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to be able to breathe. It’s going to drive me crazy,’” Hayek said.

Despite her concerns, Hayek tried the suit on and ended up loving it. All she could think about was the history she was about to make.

“And I went to put it on, I found myself profoundly moved,” Hayek said. “It was a very strange experience because I didn’t expect it. I forgot about how does it fit? Am I going to get a claustrophobic attack? All I could see was, ‘Oh my God, here’s a Mexican female in this outfit and this is really happening. And yes, we get to be superheroes.’”

She had fears when Marvel called to offer her role in ‘Eternals’

Unfortunately, Hayek’s fears didn’t begin with her costume. When she first got the call from Marvel about Eternals, she was overwhelmed by the secrecy the studio required. 

“I was terrified. They tell you you’re going to be in this movie, but they can’t give you a script, and you have to sign the contract,” Hayek told Variety. “You have to negotiate and sign the contract, and you cannot tell anyone.”

Salma Hayek couldn’t believe that Marvel wanted her to star in ‘Eternals’


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Hayek was caught completely off guard when Marvel called her to discuss starring in Eternals. Hayek had wanted to star in an action movie for a long time but figured no studio would offer her a role within the genre. 

“It never crossed my mind to be in a Marvel movie. I guess that I thought that boat had sailed, and it was an absolute shock.”

According to Hayek, Mexican actors aren’t provided the same opportunities to lead big action franchises. After she landed her role, she struggled to keep the news a secret.

“It’s kind of hard to be an action hero if you’re Mexican. It’s really hard to be an action hero if you’re a Mexican and a woman. But to be an action hero, being Mexican, a woman, and my age, it felt like they were punking me. And then the worst part is that I was one of the first people they cast. I had to keep my mouth shut for so many months. I couldn’t tell a soul. And I couldn’t wait for the day that I could say it.”