Angelina Jolie has spoken out about how “proud” she is of Marvel’s decision to keep the gay kissing scene featured in Eternals.
Marvel’s latest blockbuster has been banned in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.
According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), the Chloe Zhao-directed film will be not released in the aforementioned territories due to the inclusion of Marvel’s first-ever gay superhero Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry).
Eternals also features Marvel’s first big screen queer couple and in one scene, Phastos reportedly shares a “passionate kiss” with his husband Jack (Haaz Sleiman).
THR states that a number of “edits” were requested from cinema chains in the Gulf regions to Disney, who were not willing to comply.
Homosexuality is still criminalised in many Middle Eastern regions and is even punishable by death in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
In 2020, a single line referencing a lesbian relationship in Pixar’s Onward resulted in the title being banned in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Kuwait and Oman.
Jolie, who appears in the movie as Thena, told Australian outlet news.com.au that those who are angry about LGBTQ+ representation in the movie are “ignorant.”
“I’m sad for [those audiences],” said the Shark Tale star. “And I’m proud of Marvel for refusing to cut those scenes out.
“I still don’t understand how we live in a world today where there’s still [people who] would not see the family Phastos has and the beauty of that relationship and that love.
“How anybody is angry about it, threatened by it, doesn’t approve or appreciate it is ignorant.”
Despite the movie’s backlash, it is still scheduled for an 11 November release in the United Arab Emirates.
Speaking with Out, Sleiman – whose character shares a child with Phastos – said his casting was “very smart” as he will “humanise the hell” out of LGBTQ+ families.
He said: “I feel lucky, and I’m grateful. And… I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I feel like Marvel, they were very smart to cast me in it because I got to humanise the hell out of it. I got to humanise an LGBTQ+ family and show how beautiful they are.”
The highly-anticipated new film follows the titular Eternals – an immortal alien race created by the Celestials – who have shaped the fate of humanity and civilisation.
For more than 7,000 years they’ve quietly existed in the background, but following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), they reunite to protect humanity from their threatening counterparts, the Deviants.
The ensemble cast also includes Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kit Harrington, Kumail Nanjiani, Barry Keoghan, Lauren Ridloff, and Ma Dong-seok.
Eternals hits cinemas 5 November.