“Beyond a dream come true, it’s life-saving,” actor Haaz Sleiman (“Jack Ryan,” “Jackie Brown”) told Variety. Sleiman plays Ben, whose love has inspired Phastos to reconnect with his faith in humanity. As Feige teased, Ben and Phastos are parents, and Sleiman — who himself came out as gay in 2017 — had kids in mind as he celebrated the representation evident in the film. “I wish I had that when I was a kid to see this,” the actor said. “My god. I wish! Can you imagine how many lives this is going to be saving — kids, young queer folk, who are being bullied, committing suicide, and not seeing themselves being represented? And now they get to see this — it’s above and beyond.”
Director Chloe Zhao stressed that the milestone is only made meaningful by investing the characters with as much truth as possible. “What’s important is to show that it isn’t about a message we’re trying to put out,” she explained to Variety. “I think finding authenticity in moments like that is crucial for me, so it doesn’t feel forced, so you could actually relate to them. That’s the most important thing. It’s not just about being the first. It’s about do you actually feel for them, whether you’re gay or straight or whatever.”
As “Eternals” sweeps into theaters on Nov. 5, 2021, fans will no doubt be witnessing history — and for Phastos, this may only be the beginning.