Kumail Nanjiani Would Like to Play the Bad Guy, Too

Welcome to Chippendales A sprawling true crime saga,

Mathias Kramer

Some stories only need to be told once. Others, so lewd and implausible, are trapped in repetition. The sweaty and bloody history of the male-stripping empire Chippendales seems to belong to the latter. There are podcasts, documentaries, and now the shiny Disney+ and Hulu TV shows, welcome to chippendalestarring Kumail Nanjiani as Steve Banerjee, the murderous mastermind behind it all.

“I’ve never played an arc like this,” Nanjiani said via Zoom from Los Angeles. “By far, it’s the most layered, complex, complicated person I’ve ever played.” “Layered” is the word: after moving to Los Angeles from Mumbai, Banerjee bought an abandoned nightclub and set up a Chippendales were introduced in the 1980s. Despite the club’s popularity, Banerjee was endlessly paranoid about rivals and even his own colleagues.His relationship with choreographer Nick DeNoah (shown on the show by white lotusMurray Bartlett was particularly violent, with fatal consequences.

Figuring out Banerjee took months; Nanjiani said conversations with his wife, author and comedian Emily V. Gordon, and an acting coach were crucial. As the study evokes films of past, dirtier times: boogie night, good guyand the 1970s Harrison Ford thriller dialogue. Ultimately, Nanjiani did some armchair psychology. “I think at the end of the day, his tragic flaw is that he’s very, very uncomfortable in his own skin,” the 44-year-old actor said. Throughout the eight-part show, Banerjee constantly wants people to like him, his show or his money. “That’s why the relationship with Erin [Banerjee’s wife, played by Annaleigh Ashford] It matters because the only time he likes himself is when he sees himself through her eyes. “

Nanjiani clearly enjoyed flexing his muscles in the role. Somewhat shabby; the comedic scene where he meets his future wife Erin for the first time is a highlight, capitalizing on comedic timing that both actors are well worth watching. There are also more dramatic areas, such as the tense 15-page scene opposite Killer Ray (a delightfully messy Robin DeJesus), which takes place in a hotel room and is shot by Nanjiani one of the highlights. But if you’ve followed his career so far, none of these patterns — comedic, romantic, dramatic — are entirely surprising.

After moving from Karachi to Iowa for college, Nanjiani moved to Chicago, where he began performing stand-up.skit in a political satire vice-president followed, though he became a more familiar face silicon valley, HBO’s sitcom about the tech industry. 2017 serious illness – a romantic comedy co-written by Nanjiani and Gordon about their adorable encounter centered on a coma – that made Nanjiani famous. immortalChloé Zhao’s 2021 Marvel film Nanjaini has made him a household name as the bright-eyed Jin-go.

Entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes with a superhero glow.in preparation immortal, Nanjiani went from being a regular Joe (though still a Hollywood regular) to being a Marvel hunk. Nanjiani’s cocky Instagram post went viral (and sparked a lot of discussion about male body image).it seems almost cruel welcome to chippendale There are half-naked beef patties everywhere—a 1980s Marvel poster—and Nanjiani plays a pudgy club owner. “I eat whatever I want because I want to look different,” he said of the transformation process. But while that started off well, it quickly spiraled up. Soon, he was at his heaviest weight ever and developed sleep apnea. “I didn’t do it in a healthy way.”

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His devotion to the part definitely adds to the look of the show, which is sleazy and flashy: you can smell spilled drinks, pheromones in the air. But beneath that slutty appeal, there’s a lot of darkness. In the first episode, Playboy bunny Dorothy Stratten (Nicola Peltz) is murdered to death by her estranged husband Paul Snyder (Dan Stevens). An uneasiness with the endlessly popular true crime genre runs throughout. When do entertainment and education end and exploitation begin? “What you want to do is not harm someone who has already been a victim,” Nanjiani said of the Stratten scene. “You want to try and paint them for who they are as best as you can.”

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Here’s the other side of the true crime coin: if welcome to chippendale Not based on a true story, Nanjiani believes the central role will be filled by a white actor. “I think Hollywood right now — even though they’re trying to be more diverse — is still weird,” the actor said. The problem, Nanjiani bets, is that good intentions can sometimes lead to the wrong solutions: If the bad guy is brown, what is his message? “It’s as limiting as anything else,” he said. “I want to play more bad guys.” Nanjiani wants to have a career as versatile as his Marvel sidekick Sebastian Stan, who can go from superhero to serial killer (Nanjiani watched fresh, in which Stan plays a charming organ-harvesting cannibal). “He does these Marvel blockbusters, and then he’ll play a psychopath. I’ve been told it’s going to be hard because people don’t want to see non-white people as bad guys.”

2h8n936 kumail nanjiani in eternals 2021, directed by chloe zhao credit marvel studios tsg entertainment album

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Days before Nanjiani and I spoke in November, Quentin Tarantino became the latest director (after Martin Scorsese) to denounce Marvel’s dominance of the film industry. ). In the podcast, Tarantino lamented that Marvel movies are “the only thing that seems to be made,” with superhero characters now the stars rather than the actors who play them. These comments were met with the hysteria that Marvel’s discourse continues to attract. Nanjiani’s tone was rather calm: “Of course I like films made by Tarantino or Scorsese, and I may disagree with Scorsese on superhero films, but I mean, who else qualifies Opinion? If Scorsese didn’t earn the right to have an opinion on the film, then none of us should have an opinion on the film.” Mostly, he seemed a bit confused. “It’s so weird that people are upset about it.”

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What Nanjiani does miss are “adult films with decent budgets and decent movie stars in theaters”.if serious illness Already in 2020 instead of 2017, he doesn’t think it will be released in theaters. “I think our year is the last year for those independent films to be commercially successful.” ladybug, Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut that same year may have met the same fate. “‘There’s a sense that people don’t want to go to the cinema unless it’s an action movie or a horror movie.’ Television, then, is a great space for Nanjiani.second season little americaan anthology series on immigration he co-authored with Gordon and Lee Eisenberg, went offline in December.

Nanjiani is a thoughtful and self-aware individual who analyzes the industry as much as he analyzes his own career.rear serious illness, He got more opportunities, even though they belonged to “nerds, weak people, lacking agency or power”.rear immortal, people see Nanjiani as a more confident and stronger presence. After that he got action movies. When it’s his turn to play Banerjee, he will once again show the audience a new side. Perhaps Nanjiani’s villain era is within reach.

‘Welcome to Chippendale’ launches January 11 on Disney+

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