Actor Kumail Nanjiani has a goal in mind! He wants to change the way people around the world perceive the Middle East and Pakistani actors in American pop culture. To make sure this is achieved, he ensured that his superhero character in Eternals was free of ‘brown dude’ stereotypes.
During preparations for his character ‘Kingo’, who’s a superhero living on Earth as a famous Bollywood movie celebrity, The Eternals actor took off through a complete physical transformation, which was a change that the actor wanted to bring for the character to avoid ‘brown dude’ stereotypes.
Kumail elucidated his statement to Los Angeles Times by saying “I’ve been in this industry for about a decade and I looked at the usual opportunities that the brown dudes get. We get to be nerdy. I wanted him to be the opposite of that. I wanted him to be cool. Nerdy goes ‘weakling,’ and I wanted him to be the opposite of that and to be strong physically. Or we get to be terrorists, and I wanted him to be the opposite.”
“I wanted him to be this character full of joy. In working with Chloé, we were like, let’s take every single thing that I haven’t gotten to do and make a character who’s the exact opposite of the way a lot of American pop culture sees people from Pakistan or the Middle East,” the actor continued. “I was very lucky that Chloé was really on board with that. Because when you have like 10 characters, you’re trying to set yourself apart from the other characters and find your shadings. You’re not going to get a ton of real estate. So you want it to come from a very specific place. I decided to go in, I’m going to have fun during this process.”
Kumail also explained that he had a lot of fun playing the superhero character in the highly-anticipated drama along with some of the greatest Hollywood celebrities. Talking about Eternals, the upcoming movie revolves around a group by the same name who has been on earth for the past 7,000 years and are charged with the duty to save it from evil.