Kumail Nanjiani On Playing the First Pakistani Superhero in MCU
Kumail Nanjiani talks about the pressure of being the first Pakistani superhero in the MCU. He will be playing Kingo in The Eternals, which is to be release in 2021.
In a recent interview, Kumail Nanjiani talks about the pressures of being the first Pakistani superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU).
“It [playing a Pakistani superhero in Marvel] was significant because it was something that I really, really wanted to do. Now on top of that, there’s this other pressure in that I’m the first. But that stuff is a little harder to negotiate because I can only represent myself,” Kumail stated.
He further talked about the pressure that comes with the role saying, “So, I do feel the pressure, but the only way to relieve it is just to have more people have these opportunities. I, one person, cannot represent a whole group of people because all of our experiences and backgrounds are completely different.
“That said, when I got that part, I was like, ‘I want to look like someone who could take on the traditional Hollywood-looking superhero — someone who could take on Thor or Captain America.’ To me, that was an important part of getting to play the superhero, and for me it was important because I was the first one.”
Kumail also talked about the approach he towards his character Kingo, he mentioned he got the inspiration from Diehard’s John McClaneand Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan.
Furthermore, he said, “I approached him really like the opposite of the opportunities that I had gotten and the opportunities that a lot of other brown men traditionally get in Hollywood. I feel like we’re this group where we can be the model minority, so the smart nerds, or the exact opposite, terrorists, depending on what the project is. Those are the two ends of the spectrum that we occupy and very little in between.”
He added, “I’ve gotten to play a nerd, so I wanted this guy to be cool. I’ve played weaklings, so I wanted this guy to be strong. Brown men have had to play terrorists, so I wanted this guy to be full of joy. So, really, this character for me was defined by what I didn’t want him to be.”
When talking about his transformation in order to play the first Pakistani superhero in the MCU, Kumail Nanjiani talked about how weird it was to see how the world was reacting to his posts.
“My aunts saying that they were really proud of me. I did not expect that. Listen, it got so much bigger than I thought it was going to get. If I had known it was going to be like that, I probably wouldn’t have done it because I’ll tell you, I have come to hate that picture,” he said. When he was inquired as to why he had come to hate it, Nanjiani quipped, “Um, I don’t want to get into it, but you get a weird body dysmorphia when the whole world is concentrating on how you look. And listen, I am very, very grateful and I put those pictures out for a reason, right? I did that because I wanted that reaction, obviously.”
He ended the conversation by saying, “But then when you get that reaction, it’s a little weird. You’re like, “People are really judging little bits of your physical being.” And I know a lot of people have it a lot worse than me, but it makes you feel naked and I became shallow. I got obsessed with how I look and then all I would see are what I perceive as flaws.”
The MCU Phase 4 was announced in 2019. The phase 4 included The Eternals, which will be the 25th movie in the MCU and is starring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, Gemma Chan, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, and Barry Keoghan.
I cannot wait for the Eternals to release in February 2021! Leave comments to let us know how you feel about Kumail Nanjiani playing the first Pakistani superhero in the MCU!
To read about Ben Affleck’s reported return as Batman on HBO Max, click here.
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