Kumail Nanjiani has grown in celebrity ever since his Silicon Valley days, but he says that he still feels his roles are limited.
Despite Hollywood’s attempts at making newer projects more diverse, Nanjiani thinks that they are now forbidding POC to play villains in any mainstream film. He tells Esquire UK, “I think that Hollywood now – even though they’re trying to be more diverse – is still weird,” lamenting on the thought that having a POC play the villain could send the wrong message. “That’s just as limiting as anything else,” says Nanjiani, “I want to play more bad guys… I was told that’s going to be hard because people don’t want to cast non-white people as bad guys.”
If anything, Nanjiani kind of plays a morally questionable character in Hulu’s Welcome to Chippendales which chronicles the dark true story of the rise of the male stripper franchise. But his other roles have mostly relied on Nanjiani’s comedy chops; I guess Eternals worked really hard to sell him as a Bollywood star.
Despite the criticism, it does seem like huge franchises like Marvel are starting to cast POC for villain roles. Jonathan Majors is set to play the next big villain Kang in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and we also had recent antagonists like Tenoch Huerta’s Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Hopefully we get to see Nanjiani play some more varied roles in the future moving forward. Catch him in Welcome to Chippendales now streaming on Hulu.