Kumail Nanjiani is ‘uncomfortable’ talking about his buffed up Marvel body

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Kumail Nanjiani 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Virtual Show
In this screengrab released on April 22, Kumail Nanjiani speaks during the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards broadcast on April 22, 2021. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Film Independent)

Kumail Nanjiani was profiled by GQ, and in the interview, he addressed his new physique, which was spawned by his upcoming role in the Marvel film Eternals.

Nanjiani made it clear that Marvel didn’t ask him to transform his body, and that director Chloé Zhao wasn’t too thrilled with his decision.

“Chloé got a little upset at me for getting in shape,” he said. “I shouldn’t say ‘getting in shape.’ For changing my body to look a certain way.”

Kumail Nanjiani Marvel Studios Hall H Panel
Kumail Nanjiani of Marvel Studios' ‘The Eternals' at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2019 Marvel Studios Panel in Hall H on July 20, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

“I wanted to make sure he didn’t feel like he had to do it for me,” Zhao told the mag about Nanjiani’s transformation.

Nanjiani did say that the physique of other Marvel characters inspired him to get in shape for his role. “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,” he said.

The actor admitted that a viral photo he posted of his new body, and the media attention it garnered, has weighed on him, and that it’s “become less and less and less comfortable” discussing his new physical appearance.

Kumail Nanjiani
US/Pakistani actor Kumail Nanjiani arrives for the premiere of “The Suicide Squad” at the Regency Village theatre in Westwood, California on August 2, 2021. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

“I’ve found out over the last year and a half, since I did that picture, that I am very uncomfortable talking about my body — and it’s become less and less and less comfortable,” he said.

He also admitted that he doesn’t want his body to encourage messages of toxic masculinity either, which he feels might be the case.

“A lot of times, we are taught to be useful by using physical strength or our brain in an aggressive, competitive way. Not in an empathetic way. Not in an open, collaborative way,” he said. “That’s what the male ideal has been: Dominating. Defeating. Crushing. Killing. Destroying. That’s what being jacked is.”

Kumail Nanjiani D23 Expo 2019
Kumail Nanjiani attends Go Behind The Scenes with Walt Disney Studios during D23 Expo 2019 at Anaheim Convention Center on August 24, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Eternals is in theaters on November 5, 2021.


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