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Chloé Zhao Talks Not Editing ‘Eternals’ Herself, Working with Paul Thomas Anderson’s Editor

The Oscar-nominated editor behind "There Will Be Blood," "Phantom Thread," and more is making his MCU debut.

Chloe Zhao

Chloe Zhao


Chloé Zhao picked up four Oscar nominations for “Nomadland” this year as its producer, director, writer, and editor, winning the categories of Best Picture and Best Director. Zhao has been a credited editor on two of her films, “Songs My Brother Taught Me” and “Nomadland,” receiving sole editor credit on her recent Oscar winner. The director confirmed to Variety following the 93rd Academy Awards that for “Eternals,” her upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe tentpole and major studio filmmaking debut, she is not the editor. That credit is being shared by Dylan Tichenor and Craig Wood.

“No. I’m working with two incredible editors, Wood and Tichenor,” Zhao said when asked if she’s editing “Eternals” in addition to directing and co-writing the film. “And they’ve taught me so much. They were very patient with me, because they know it’s the first time that I’ve collaborated with editors that way. They’ve really helped me find the language to be able to communicate with them in a way that I hadn’t had to do to this extent.”

Zhao says she is in the “final stretch” of post-production on the movie, adding, “Just like sculpturing, you never want it to end. You just want to keep going until they tell you you can’t keep going anymore.”

Cinephiles are most likely familiar with the name Dylan Tichenor, as he’s the longtime editor for Paul Thomas Anderson and has also served as editor for Wes Anderson (“The Royal Tenenbaums”), M. Night Shyamalan (“Unbreakable”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”), and Andrew Dominik (“Jesse James”). Tichenor got his start as an assistant editor on Robert Altman’s “The Player” and “Short Cuts” before joining forces with Anderson on “Hard Eight” as a post-production coordinator and then editor of “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood,” and “Phantom Thread.” Tichernor has received Oscar nominations for Best Film Editing with “There Will Be Blood” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

“Eternals” co-editor Craig Wood comes from the Marvel family, having served as co-editor on “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Wood’s blockbuster work also includes the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.” Wood won the ACE Eddie for Best Edited Animated Feature Film and the Annie Award for Best Editing in a Feature Production for his work on “Rango.”

While Kaz Firpo and Ryan Firpo were originally credited as the writers of “Eternals,” Zhao revealed in January that she picked up screenwriting duties on the tentpole and will be credited. “I don’t know what it would be like if I didn’t write the film, if I wasn’t at least a huge part of the writing process,” she said in a video interview.

“Eternals” is opening November 5 from Disney.

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