A Conversation with Kumail Nanjiani
Hollywood icon Kumail Nanjiani is an Academy Award-nominated writer, and critically acclaimed actor, comedian, and podcaster. Nanjiani is a prolific creative, from his Oscar-nominated film The Big Sick, which he co-wrote with his wife Emily Gordon and stars in, to blockbusters such as Marvel’s The Eternals, to numerous upcoming projects. In engaging moderated conversations, Nanjiani shares insights from his experience in Hollywood, his creative process, and more, bringing levity and inspiration to memorable events.
Kumail Nanjiani is an Oscar-nominated writer and critically acclaimed actor and comedian.
Nanjiani will next be seen on the Disney+ Star Wars prequel Obi-Wan opposite Ewan McGregor. The series will be directed by Deborah Chow, who helmed two episodes of The Mandalorian Season 1. Other cast members include Rupert Friend (Homeland), Moses Ingram (The Queen’s Gambit), Sung Kang (Power), Simone Kessell (The Crossing), O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Uncut Gems director Benny Safdie. Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse will reprise their prequel trilogy roles as young Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen Lars and Aunt Beru.
Additionally, Nanjiani will play Chippendales Founder Somen “Steve” Banerjee in a limited series for Hulu called The Immigrant. The eight-episode series will tell the true story of Banerjee, the Indian American entrepreneur who started Chippendales. The series is written by Robert Siegal and executive produced by Siegel, Nanjiani, Dylan Sellers and Emily V. Gordon as well as Rajiv Joseph and Mehar Sethi, who will also write on the series.
Nanjiani was most recently seen on the big screen in Marvel’s highly anticipated film, Eternals which released on November 5, 2021. The richly diverse cast includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Don Lee and is directed by Two-Time Academy Award winning filmmaker Chloe Zhao.
Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon currently serve as executive producers on the Apple TV+ series Little America with Lee Eisenberg, Alan Yang, and Joshua Bearman. The show is currently in production on Season 2 and received nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards and BAFTA TV Awards. Each episode was inspired by true and poignant stories featured by Epic Magazine of immigrants in America covering politics and cultural division with a diverse group of emerging talent, bringing to life the funny, romantic, heartfelt, and surprising stories of immigrants in America. The show recently earned two nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards within the categories of ‘Best Male Performance in a Scripted Series’ and ‘Best New Scripted Series’ in addition to three nominations at the NAACP with two nominations for ‘Outstanding Writing in A Comedy Series’ and a nomination for ‘Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series.’
It was recently announced that Nanjiani will star in and produce FX’s Homeland Elegies, based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winning author Ayad Akhtar. The series will be led by Nanjiani and blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of identity and belonging in post-Trump America.
In other news, Nanjiani and Gordon are set to write the feature adaptation of The Doubtful Guest a 1957 illustrated short story by Edward Gorey. It director Andy Muschietti is set to direct and producer alongside his sister Barbara Muschetti under their Double Dream banner. Nanjiani will also star in the feature which was acquired as a feature pitch by Amblin Partners.
In early 2020, Nanjiani and his wife created their own podcast Staying In with Emily & Kumail while in quarantine, which was ranked among several Top 10 Podcasts lists in addition to receiving a People’s Choice Award nomination. The podcast is a fun conversation between these two writers where, they advise on many things like, how to stay calm and avoid cabin fever, offering fun entertainment recommendations, etc. Proceeds from the podcast went to charities helping those affected by COVID-19.
2017 Kumail and his wife Emily V. Gordon received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for The Big Sick, in which Nanjiani starred alongside Holly Hunter, Zoe Kazan and Ray Romano. The film was named one of the AFI’s Top Films of the Year and won the Critic’s Choice Award for Best Comedy, the Hollywood Film Award for Comedy Ensemble of the Year and an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. Additionally, the film earned two Independent Spirit Award nominations, a Producer’s Guild Award nomination, two SAG Award nominations, a Writer’s Guild and Gotham Award nomination. Nanjiani also earned the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Virtuoso Award, the San Diego International Film Festival’s Auteur Award and was named one of VARIETY’s 10 Actors to Watch.
On the television side, Nanjiani reprised his starring role as ‘Dinesh’ on the sixth and final season of the Emmy Award- winning HBO comedy series Silicon Valley, opposite Thomas Middleditch, Martin Starr and Zach Woods. Over the years, the series has won two Critic’s Choice Awards for Best Comedy Series and has been named one of the AFI’s TV Programs of the Year. Nanjiani also voiced Jesus on the Fox animated series “Bless the Harts” with stars Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph that premiered last year. Nanjiani was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Star in a Drama Series for his appearance in Jordan Peele’s new take on the original 1959 TV Series The Twilight Zone.
Additional film credits include, The Lovebirds, Stuber, Men In Black: International, Fist Fight, Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates, The Five-Year Engagement, and Central Intelligence. His vocal talents were heard voicing one of the ninja warriors in The Lego Ninjago Movie from Warner Bros. Additional television credits include: Comedy Central’s The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, IFC’s Portlandia, TNT’s Franklin & Bash, FOX’s The X-Files and NBC’s Community.