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Kumail Nanjiani in Silicon Valley

It must feel like an overwhelming undertaking when you’re an actor suddenly thrust into a superhero role. A heavy weight is placed on your shoulders, literally and figuratively, with the almost mandatory task of getting into serious shape.

Comedian, actor, and writer Kumail Nanjiani felt this responsibility when he took on his role in Marvel’s The Eternals, and decided to rise to the occasion despite the high bar. Recently on Late Night with Seth Meyers Kumail Nanjiani explained why he took this so seriously. Here’s what he said:

My first thought was, ‘Oh my god I can’t believe this is happening.’ My second thought was, ‘Oh fuck, I have to now get in shape.’ It was important to me because I was the first Pakistani superhero like in a mainstream Hollywood movie and a Marvel movie. I thought, I want to look like somebody who could hang with Thor and Captain America. I didn’t want to like also be the first schlubby superhero.

The superhero workout regimen is no small feat, something Kumail Nanjiani clearly understood going in. Still, he had a strong motivation to make it happen and transform his physique. That’s not to say the experience hasn’t been hard on him and his family. He later joked about wife Emily V. Gordon, saying:

This transformation was hard for me but it was harder for Emily. I definitely became 30% less interesting but I think it’s a fair trade.

This isn’t the only time Kumail Nanjiani has spoken in depth about getting ripped for his role in The Eternals. From what he describes, the challenge wasn’t the workouts as much as the extreme diet. For a year he hadn’t eaten pizza, donuts, refined sugar, or carbs, and would snack on sugar snap peas as a treat.

Another notable comedian that totally transformed his physique for a superhero role is Chris Pratt. Before he being cast as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt carried some extra pounds on Parks and Recreation as Andy Dwyer. Like Kumail Nanjiani, he took the Star-Lord role seriously enough to drop the weight and get ripped.

Typically, highly focused diet and exercise seems to be the standard regimen for these actors, some actors take it even a step further. Tom Holland, for instance, said he went to gym where they strap electric belts on you that electrocute you while you workout. He said it felt like a “dull tingling," which kind of brings a new meaning to the Peter tingle.

While some actors hit the weights and go to extremes to get absolutely ripped, other actors, like Benedict Cumberbatch, aren’t so intense about it. He said you can do the body-building thing or just diligently work on your body through a long period of time with a healthy diet.

We’ll all get to see Kumail Nanjiani’s character Kingo in action when Marvel’s The Eternals releases on Februray 12th, 2021.

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