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Entertainment

Web Desk
July 4, 2020

Kumail Nanjiani jokes he got ‘jacked’ for his people back in Pakistan

Entertainment

Web Desk
Sat, Jul 04, 2020

Kumail Nanjiani may have gone all the way from Karachi, Pakistan to Hollywood but his roots and the pressure of representing a small segment of people in America are still with him. 

The actor and comedian spoke about being the first Pakistani Marvel superhero in The Eternals and the pressure that comes with such ample representation.

During a comedians’ round table discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, Nanjiani said: “It was very 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. 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,” he said.

“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,” he added.

Rami Youssef in response to his comments joked: “So you had to get jacked for your culture. Like, you did it for Islam and for Pakistan.”

“Yeah, I did it for all my people. I'm ripped for Pakistan,” Nanjiani responded.

He further spoke about the character saying: “I approached him really as 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. 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,” he added.