The Eternals is the most sci-fi Marvel Cinematic Universe project to date. Kumail Nanjiani revealed the update in a recent interview where he also commented on keeping up his superhero physique. The Silicon Valley star also said that MCU fans can expect an "epic" movie when it hits theaters late this year. Before Eternals, we'll have the standalone Black Widow movie kick off the MCU's Phase 4 in May.
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige recently revealed that Eternals takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, though it looks like it will also take place during different times in the MCU timeline too, at least according to Kumail Nanjiani. The actor is clearly still excited about being able to participate in the MCU and gave fans a small tease of what to expect. He had this to say.
"It's really, really an epic. And it's really such a science-fiction story. It's a superhero story, but in some ways, it's the most sci-fi of all the Marvel movies and it's the most epic of all the Marvel movies. And the story spans thousands of years. So it's really not like any of the other Marvel movies."
Over the holidays, Kumail Nanjiani posted a shirtless selfie on social media, which showcased his superhero physique for Eternals. Fans were shocked and PornHub quickly made him the model for their Muscular Men category. In other words, the picture spread like wildfire, despite what Nanjiani originally thought. For a few weeks, his naked torso was inescapable. He explains.
"I really did not think it was going to get as big as it did. I really was very surprised. I'd been shooting for a few months. I was in good shape. Christmas was coming and I was like, 'I should take some pictures, because who knows how I'm going to look after Christmas?' So I put those pictures up while I was shooting, and then I checked an hour later and there was some stuff and I was like, 'Okay, good.' Suddenly it started exploding, and it was just snowballing.
Each time I looked, it was getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and then it was like this thing that was going out of my control. I remember at one point looking at Twitter, scrolling down, and just seeing my own naked torso over and over and over. I could not believe how big it got. I texted my brother, I was like, 'Hey, are Mom or Dad okay?' Because it's a weird thing. And my brother was like, 'Oh, Dad sent your shirtless picture to both family WhatsApp groups.' And I was like, 'Okay! Thank God.'"
Acting in an MCU project may look a lot different from doing scenes for HBO's Silicon Valley. For one, Kumail Nanjiani had to get used to wearing a superhero suit, which is a far cry from what he, or anybody else, is used to wearing. With that being said, there are some very real similarities to working on Eternals and a smaller project, which has been talked about more than once when working with Marvel Studios. Nanjiani had this to say about the suit and working with Marvel Studios.
"My super-suit is very, very comfortable actually, even though it's very elaborate. But the other thing is, making this massive movie in many important ways still feels like you're making an independent movie, in the sense that it really feels like a family and it feels like it's really about characters and relationships and very small moments. So while you have certain scenes where you're hanging up on a wire fighting bad guys and you have all these superpowers, the rest of it does feel like you're making something really small.
The people who are making it are very, very passionate about it and the conversations you have are the [same] conversations when you create anything: 'Does this make sense? Should we do this?' Chloe [Zhao], our director, and Nate [Moore], our producer, and Kevin [Feige, Marvel Studios president] - they've been just so open to everything and so passionate. I mean, they've made 25 of these movies and it still feels like they're living their dreams every day, which is certainly what I've been doing for the last six months."
Beyond the usual things an MCU star can dance around when talking about an upcoming project, Kumail Nanjiani is still pretty surprised by how organically everything is coming together with Eternals. The actor also notes that the movie is going to be pretty different from anything else MCU fans have seen on the big screen thus far, though that was to be expected. Kevin Feige has faith in the movie and its characters to help throw the MCU into the future. Nanjiani had explains.
"I love superhero movies, but beyond that, this is exactly the type of movie that I love. If someone would say, 'All right, what kind of movie do you want to watch? What are the things that's going to have?' I would say all these things. And that's what this movie is. It really spans thousands and thousands of years. And the story is just so big and so epic. And I don't mean epic in the internet way, I mean epic in the old-school way... It doesn't look like any of the other Marvel movies.
I was on set shooting, and the director showed me just a still of all of us together in the scene. And I was like, 'I mean, look at all of us together.' We all look so different. It's me and a huge buff guy from Korea [Ma Dong-seok] and Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie and Gemma Chan and Lauren Ridloff. You don't ever get to see people like this together in the same room, let alone in awesome superhero costumes."
Eternals is bringing together a pretty diverse cast together to lead the future of the MCU. There's not a whole lot of people who would expect Kumail Nanjiani to be starring alongside Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek, which includes the actor himself. However, that's part of Kevin Feige's talent. The Marvel Studios boss is able to draw talent from a number of places to create something cohesive and as Nanjiani says, "epic." The interview with Kumail Nanjiani was originally conducted by Entertainment Weekly.