Marvel’s Eternals follows 10 superpowered immortals who’ve been living amongst humanity for thousands of years, but while most of them have been keeping a low profile, that’s not true of Kingo. Kumail Nanjiani’s character, who can fire energy projectiles from his hands, leads a double life as a major Bollywood movie star. And we get a glimpse at his day job in one of the most standout scenes from Chloe Zhao’s film.
When Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), and Sprite (Lia McHugh) go to fetch Kingo after the Deviants return, they arrive at his studio just in time to witness him shooting an extravagant dance number. It’s an unexpected sequence in a Marvel movie for the audience, and it turns out it was just as surprising an experience for Nanjiani himself as he was tricked into doing it.
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While chatting on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the star explained that he immediately said no to the idea of the dance scene when Zhao pitched it to him on the grounds that he couldn’t dance. He assumed that was the end of it, but when he later arrived on the London set he discovered the dance sequence was ready to go. It turns out that the filmmaker went so far as to keep the scene out of the script so the actor wouldn’t know it was going to happen. As he put it:
“We got to London to shoot and [Zhao] was like, ‘I lied. It’s a Bollywood dance number.’ She lied to me! She put a lie in the script! She printed out the lie. And so I was like, ‘Get me a teacher.’ And I trained for four months to do it. But it was really cool.”
Nanjiani went on to stress that he doesn’t regret being tricked into making the scene as he had an amazing time filming it. He also revealed that he found it emotional to see 50 South Asian performers coming together for the sequence, which is something that speaks to the importance of the incredible inclusivity and diversity of Eternals. Zhao likely knew how impactful this scene would be, not to mention how visually stunning it is, so that’s why she went to such extreme efforts to make it happen.
Eternals is in theaters now.