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How Chloé Zhao Turned Kumail Nanjiani Into A Bollywood Star In Eternals

It won’t surprise his fans to know that Kumail Nanjiani, who plays Kingo in Marvel’s Eternals, is behind much of the comedy in the film. His Bollywood swagger, however, might come as a shock.

“The hardest thing was the dancing,” says Nanjiani. As a matter of fact, he let director Chloé Zhao know from the start that he wasn’t capable of doing any big Bollywood dance sequences. She promised to change the dance number to a Bollywood action scene. “Then soon as I got to London, she’s like, ‘It’s a dance sequence!'”

Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) in Marvel Studios’ ETERNALS. Photo by Sophie Mutevelian . ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Knowing it was too late to back out, he went right to work. Nileeka Bose, who served as the film’s choreographer, helped to get Nanjiani Bollywood-ready. “[She] worked with me for months and months to do that because it was so outside my comfort zone.”

Ultimately he credits his trust in the filmmakers for helping him master the challenges of his role. “Usually, my instinct would be—an opportunity like this—there would be a moment of excitement and then fear.” From his original meeting with Zhao, however, he knew he was in good hands. “She’s not going to let me suck in this thing. So if she wants me to do something, I’m going to do it.”

(L-R): Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Sprite (Lia McHugh) in Marvel Studios’ ETERNALS. Photo by Sophie Mutevelian. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

“I didn’t understand it until I watched the movie, but I knew enough to trust her,” continues Nanjiani. “So for me, I was like, ‘Yeah, this doesn’t feel like something I would do, but if Chloe thinks I can do it…”

“Let’s do it,” Zhao chimes in.

“Let’s do it,” Nankiani finishes.

You can watch all of Kingo’s Bollywood moves when Eternals enters theaters on November 5, 2021.

Eternals “Bollywood” Clip

About Eternals

Marvel Studios’ “Eternals” follows a group of heroes from beyond the stars who had protected the Earth
since the dawn of man. When monstrous creatures called the Deviants, long thought lost to history,
mysteriously return, the Eternals are forced to reunite in order to defend humanity once again.

As The Bunny Hops®