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Eternals Star Kumail Nanjiani Talks The Weird After Effects Of Getting Swole In Hollywood

It’s been two years since Kumail Nanjiani dropped a photo on Instagram and it became the pic that launched a thousand thirsts. The actor, who had been cast in Marvel’s Eternals, was looking every bit the superhero with a newly cut physique and six-pack abs. But the actor admits the last two years and have been unusual, as now his body is all anybody wants to talk about.

In a recent interview with GQ, Kumail Nanjiani discusses his Marvel body, and, ironically, talks about the fact that he really doesn’t like to talk about it. It simply wasn’t a topic that he used to discuss, but now that he finds himself discussing it frequently, he’s learned it is not a topic he is comfortable with. Nanjianai explains...

Sure. 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.

Working out was certainly not a new thing for Kumail Nanjiani. The article discusses that he worked out regularly to stay in shape, but he certainly had not previously pushed himself to quite the same level that he did for Eternals. And once the picture hit the internet, people went wild over the comedian who is often cast as the nerd, looking so buff.

It has to be something of a bizarre experience to have other people talking about you in a way they never have before. Emily V. Gordon, Nanjiani’s wife, made an analogy that is likely quite fitting, but also more than a little disturbing, saying…

It’s almost like being a young woman and having your breasts develop. You become aware at some point that you are being viewed differently by everyone.

While seeing Kumail Nanjiani’s transformation was certainly impressive, it wasn’t entirely surprising. At this point we fully expect any actor cast in a superhero movie to go through a serious workout in order to look like the superhero they’re portraying. Stars from Brie Larson to Zachary Levi have all done the same.

However, what actually sets Kumail Najianai’s new body, which he has apparently largely maintained, apart from others in the MCU may be the fact that he didn’t need to build it. Director Chloé Zhao says that she cast Kumail Nanjiani because he had the right mix of “humility and charisma” to play the role of Kingo, not because of the body he had, or needed. Nanjiani says he actually shocked his director with the transformation…

Chloé got a little upset at me for getting in shape. I shouldn’t say ‘getting in shape.’ For changing my body to look a certain way.

Kumail Nanjianai says the reason he put himself through all that was that, as the first South Asian superhero in the MCU, he wanted to be sure he looked like them, like somebody who could take them on if he needed to. He also felt it fit the character because Kingo is a Bollywood star, and many of them have similar looks. 

While Kumail Nanjiani may not like talking about his body, people will likely be continuing to do so, at least until Eternals comes out this November. Although it’s possible that eventually, if this is how the actor looks all the time now, people will stop seeing it as a novelty. Of course, if he ever decides to let the body go, people will probably want to talk about that.

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.