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How Die Hard Influenced Kumail Nanjiani's Eternals Character

Bruce Willis in Die Hard
(Image credit: (Fox))

Kumail Nanjiani prepped hard to claim his spot in his November’s The Eternals. The Silicon Valley actor and stand-up comedian spent months transforming his body to play Kingo in Marvel’s fall release, and now he’s super jacked. It turns out he was inspired by Bruce Willis’ famed John McClane from Die Hard when finding his character too. Here’s what Nanjiani recently said about that:

That movie’s life-or-death, and Eternals is life-or-death, too. I was like, ‘How can a character crack wise but still have tension, and not make it feel like you’re making fun of the whole thing?’

The Big Sick actor approached his role of Kingo with the 1988 classic in his brain. There’s a specific line Bruce Willis walks in that movie when it comes to balancing comedic timing with grit, and it’s what Kumail Nanjiani aspired to during the making of The Eternals. Die Hard is one of his favorite movies, calling it “perfect.” We’ll have to look out for his influences from Nakatomi Plaza when The Eternals comes around.

In Kumail Nanjiani’s interview with Men’s Health, he also got to recreate Bruce Willis’ iconic look in Die Hard alongside more of his favorite sequences in films, such as Tom Cruise’s volleyball scene in Top Gun, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Christian Bale jumping rope in American Psycho. Take a look:

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His Eternals character is part of a powerful group of beings who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years. The movie's cast includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan and Kit Harrington. Kumail Nanjiani’s character is an arrogant Bollywood star in the present who has an extensive dance number in the movie. The Eternals team are supposed to lay low and Kingo does the most high profile thing ever.

Ever since Kumail Nanjiani revealed his transformation in December, the internet has gone bonkers over his new look. Pornhub even added his photo to the “Muscular Men” category of their site and later paid him back with a free subscription for 10 years. Even though he doesn’t know Captain America, Chris Evans reached out to him to show support for his efforts.

The actor was delivered specific meals to his doorstep, removed sugar and gluten from his diet and basically lived at the gym during the transformation. Now he loves the gym, but he can’t believe sugar snap peas were his treat to himself during that time.

Before The Eternals, Kumail Nanjiani will star with Issa Rae in rom-com murder mystery The Lovebirds, which is hitting theaters on April 3. Marvel’s Phase Four kicks off this spring with Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson, and The Eternals will hit theaters on November 6.

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