Brian Tyree Henry's Hollywood career is taking off just a year after his MCU debut. The actor has gone on to undertake a range of projects in both television and cinema after playing the Eternal Phastos in Chloé Zhao's Eternals, who also happens to be one-half of the first LGBT pair to be shown in an MCU film.
Henry had already gained notoriety for roles in movies including Widows, Hotel Artemis, and If Beale Street Could Talk. He received nominations for two Emmy Awards for his performances in the dramas Atlanta and This Is Us as guests. However, it almost seems as though the actor's work on Eternals gave him his groove back.
When Henry first started working on this project, he admitted, "I remember that I, Brian, had kind of lost faith in humanity, just looking at all the things that we've been through and just what the images of Black men were and how we're being portrayed and how the power was taken from us, the lack of power or feeling powerful." Henry went on to list the many hardships that Black men have faced.
The actor saw a character that "still chose love" in spite of everything that was happening in the film when he was cast as Phastos, though. "It just truly spoke to how I felt about my standing in society. How we can be kings and queens while at the same time having our superpowers taken away in such a way," the actor remarked.
Therefore, Chloe and [producer] Nate [Moore] basically gave me that control back, which is what I love most about Eternals.
Henry went on to collaborate with Brad Pitt, Joey King, and fellow Marvel veteran Aaron Taylor-Johnson on David Leitch's Bullet Train after his interstellar journeys on Eternals. But with all the high-action stunts they had to pull off, it hardly felt like work.
The actor remarked that "the bonds that were established and fostered on this movie was unlike anything ever." It was actually therapy in its own right; it wasn't work at all.
Henry and Taylor-Johnson respectively portray "The Twins" Lemon and Tangerine in the motion picture. Even though the two actors had never collaborated before, they just had the most time performing improv in many of their sequences.
"We failed to follow the plan. Henry recalls Dave saying, "Yeah, you guys are clearly twins," as he sat there. "We improvised so much for this film, and David, bless his heart, kept the majority of it. Simply put, when we got together, we would riff.
On set, the co-stars also grew to be very close friends, to the point where Henry now refers to Taylor-Johnson as "really my family."
Henry collaborated with the Oscar winner on Causeway, an upcoming Apple TV+ film, in addition to Bullet Train. The movie centres on Lawrence's Lynsey, a U.S. soldier who is having a hard time adjusting to life at home after suffering a traumatic brain injury while serving in Afghanistan.
Henry plays James Aucoin in the film, a mechanic with whom Lawrence's character strikes up a friendship. Since they first met while attending Yale, first-time director Lila Neugebauer had believed Henry was the ideal candidate for the role.
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The star's range, outstanding language skills, imaginative creativity, depth of spirit, and charisma, according to Neugebauer, have all been apparent to him for a very long time. Henry, on the other hand, agreed to the initiative right away. I seized the opportunity as soon as I recognised her.
As he got more into the part, he also maintained that there shouldn't be any romance between his and Lawrence's characters. In this environment, he said, "I'm always highly cognizant of what the relationships look like when you have a Black man with a white lady."
Instead, they concentrated on illustrating how the two's friendship will become closer and stronger with time. Because of everything they've lost, he continued, "There's something about when somebody recognises another person for who they genuinely are."
Henry is also working on a number of other projects, the first of which is the animated sequel Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, in which he will reprise his role as Jefferson Davis, the father of Miles Morales. The actor also has roles in the upcoming biographical Flint Strong and the Godzilla vs. Kong 2 action-adventure sequel.
Fans may also be wondering at this point whether Henry will soon return to the MCU as Phastos. Marvel has not yet made any comments about the character's comeback or a potential Eternals sequel (although Patton Oswalt, who appeared in the post-credit sequence, claimed that a sequel is happening).