Pakistani-American actor Kumail Nanjiani is hoping Hollywood can let non-whites be bad guys too. In an interview with Esquire UK, Nanjiani delves into the fatal flaw that comes with Hollywood’s recent push for inclusive casting. According to him, studios are so conscious of messaging that they do not allow minority actors to play corrupt characters.
“Eternals” actor Kumail Nanjiani said he’d like to star in more villain roles but was told studios refuse to cast non-white actors into those parts.
“I think that Hollywood now — even though they’re trying to be more diverse — is still weird.”https://t.co/duhYkoceDF
— David Croom – (ツ) (@dailycallout) January 11, 2023
“I think that Hollywood now – even though they’re trying to be more diverse, is still weird,” stated the actor who is widely known for playing Kingo in Marvel’s Eternal.
Nanjiani pointed out that Hollywood’s insistence on casting actors of color in roles that portray people of color as morally upright is a great disadvantage, even for people of color. Expressing his interest in playing villain characters, he complained about how limiting the issue is.
The 44-year-old shared that he would love to play a wide variety of roles like fellow Marvel mainstay Sebastian Stan who played the role of serial killer cannibal in the 2022 horror film Fresh after playing the reformed hero The Winter Soldier.
“He does these big Marvel movies, and then he’ll play a psychopath. I was told that’s going to be hard because people don’t want to cast non-white people as bad guys,” Nanjiani stated.
Fearing the racism charge, Hollywood doesn’t want non-whites to play bad guys.
So the answer is to limit what roles “people of color” can play?
Doesn’t this limit opportunities & pay? Like when blacks could only play servants during segregation?https://t.co/IUbWMcWpCH
— Eli Steele (@Hebro_Steele) January 10, 2023
Nanjiani hopes that all actors should have a shot at playing all roles despite their color. The limitation is so bad that he thinks that he would not have landed his latest role in the limited series Welcome to Chippendales had it not been based on a true story.
In the true crime drama, he plays the role of Somen Banerjee, who, along with Nick De Noia, founded the Chippendales, the famous male dance troupe from the 80s. The role saw him play a murderous mastermind to his fascination as he described his character as “the most layered, complex, complicated person I’ve ever played.”
The actor and stand-up comedian wondered if the inclusion of a non-white villain should be such a problem despite his desire to fill such roles.
Nanjiani’s comments give more insight into Hollywood’s transition from reserving the worst roles for non-white actors to insisting on booking them for roles that generally paint people of color as righteous and perfect. Hopefully, with actors asking to be cast into less limiting roles, the industry can lose the fear of the “woke” mob and be more objective with their casting.