Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani explained why he is tired of talking about his body after his photo went viral in 2019.
“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,” Nanjiani told GQ on Thursday.
The 43-year-old comedian trained his body for a year to bulk up for Marvel’s highly anticipated movie, “Eternals.” Nanjiani is all set to play a superhero, Kingo, who is a secret Bollywood star.
“I shared that specifically to be like, ‘Hey, I needed to change how people saw me,’ so, I could have the type of opportunities I was excited about. And those did happen,” he explained. “Now I get those opportunities. I don’t just mean action stuff. I mean, like, now I get opportunities to play a normal guy. I was not seen as a normal guy before this.”
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The comedian further revealed that “Eternals” director Chloé Zhao didn’t make this body transformation decision.
“Chloé got a little upset at me for getting in shape,” he told the outlet, adding, “I shouldn’t say ‘getting in shape.’ For changing my body to look a certain way.”
“I want to look like someone who can take on Thor or Captain America or any of those people,” he explained. “I was like, I want this to be believable. I want to feel that kind of powerful in this role.”
“It is aggression. It is anger. 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. “It’s the same thing when you have all these guys, like, asking people to debate them on Twitter. That’s the same as arm wrestling. It’s about defeating. And that’s what the male ideal has been. Dominating. Defeating. Crushing. Killing. Destroying. That’s what being jacked is.”
Zhao’s directorial “Eternals” is slated to release on Nov. 5, 2021.