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Kumail Nanjiani Says ‘It Wasn’t Him’ Who Is Responsible For ‘Eternals’ Failure

He said he worked hard and does not think he caused the movie to fail.

In a recent appearance on the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast, Kumail Nanjiani defended his performance in MCU’s ‘Eternals’ and attributed its failure to factors beyond his or anybody’s control.

Known for his roles in ‘The Big Sick’ and ‘Silicon Valley,’ Nanjiani reflected on his career and the pressures of fame during the interview. On his involvement in ‘Eternals,’ Nanjiani expressed his disappointment with the film’s reception but was adamant that the blame should not be placed on any one individual:

“I knew it wasn’t me. I think that there were a lot of things that went into it. I love that movie, I’m very proud of it — I’m proud of everyone’s work in it, and I’m proud of my work in it. I’ve seen that movie a bunch of times because it’s like ‘my kind of movie,’ and I don’t watch stuff I’m in, I’ve never watched them.”

He discussed the challenges of promoting ‘Eternals’ during a global tour, especially as negative reviews began to emerge shortly after a pandemic:

“It was really, really hard because Marvel thought that movie was going to be really, really well reviewed. So, they lifted the embargo really early and put it in some fancy movie festivals. They sent us on a big, Global tour promoting the movie right as the embargo was lifted. So, we had to travel the world while they thought we’d be going on a wave of raves.

And it wasn’t true. The reviews were really bad. I was too aware of it. I was reading every review, I was checking too much. This thing had become too much in my head because this was also right after the pandemic, so we’re coming out after this crazy thing, and I’m like, ‘Okay, this is going to be the coming out party! I worked so hard for this.'”

Nanjiani then touched upon his personal struggle with the criticism, noting his efforts to disconnect the association of work with stress and anxiety. According to the actor, ‘Eternals” negative reception added to the stress and heightened anxiety he and the team faced.

“Everything was heightened. I think that there was some weird soup in the atmosphere for why that movie got slammed so much. I think not very much of it has to do with the actual quality of the movie. Anyway, it was really, really hard, and that’s when I was like, ‘This is unfair to me, it’s unfair to Emily, I can’t approach my work this way anymore. Some sh*t’s got to change.'”

You can watch the full interview below.

Why Did ‘Eternals’ Fail?

Released on November 5, 2021, ‘Eternals‘ was directed by Chloé Zhao and featured a cast including Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, and Angelina Jolie. The film introduced Marvel fans to the Eternals, immortal beings who have lived on Earth for thousands of years, emerging to protect humanity from their adversaries, the Deviants.

Zhao’s vision for ‘Eternals’ was rather different within the MCU, as he was aiming for a more naturalistic approach compared to previous entries.

Despite its scope and the creative freedom Zhao was given, leading to a film inspired by Terrence Malick and shot with natural lighting and on-location, ‘Eternals’ became the first MCU film to receive generally negative reviews. Critics mainly targeted the film’s pacing and screenplay, although some aspects like its themes and visuals were praised.

Controversy also surrounded the film’s release, especially concerning its portrayal of a gay couple. This even led to bans in several Middle Eastern countries. Marvel Studios stood firm in its decision not to edit these scenes, despite the censorship. This decision was met with both criticism and praise.

Nanjiani’s portrayal of Kingo was a highlight for many. He shared his preparation for the role, including dance training and physical transformation, aiming to bring authenticity and joy to his performance. Despite these efforts, ‘Eternals’ received a 47% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 52 on Metacritic.

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