Kumail Nanjiani first rose to prominence as an everyman comedian, who won over audiences with his easygoing charm, deadpan delivery and natural charisma. An Academy Award nomination for writing semi-autobiographical dramedy The Big Sick with his wife Emily V. Gordon was a breakthrough moment, leading to much bigger roles in admittedly terrible movies.
The actor lent support in Men in Black: International and the disastrous Dolittle, but then found himself drafted in to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Eternals. Nobody was doubting Nanjiani’s talent; it was just a little difficult to buy him as a convincing superhero when his casting was first announced.
Then came those pictures, you know the ones, where jaws were left on the floor as Nanjiani cleaved the internet in two with his almost terrifyingly sculpted and vascular frame. In a new interview with GQ, he explained the motivations behind getting shredded on a scale comparable to Chris Evans and Hemsworth to play Kingo.
“If I’m playing the first South Asian superhero, I want to look like someone who can take on Thor or Captain America, or any of those people. From the ’60s to the ’90s I know basically every big one. I was like, ‘I want this to be believable. I want to feel that kind of powerful in this role’. With brown people, there are very specific roles that we used to get. Either we’re terrified or we’re causing terror. Those are the only two options we had. Either I’m fixing your computer, or I’m, like, planning something at the stock exchange.”
MORE FROM THE WEB
Nanjiani has been open and honest in admitting he’s hoping to use Eternals as a way to reinvent how Hollywood perceives talent from a similar background to himself, after slating the industry for always casting them as “nerds or terrorists”. An ass-kicking superhero is one way to get that job done, especially as part of the most lucrative franchise of all time.