The Oscar-nominated screenwriter transformed his entire physique to star in the 2021 Marvel film, only for critics to brutally trounce it. Nanjiani recalled Tuesday on “Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum” that this was “really, really hard” and affects him to this day.
“Marvel thought that movie was going to be really, really well reviewed, so they lifted the embargo early and put it in some fancy movie festivals and they sent us on a big global tour to promote the movie right as the embargo lifted,” the comedian told Rosenbaum.
The studio, which has purportedly meddled with the creative vision of its directors before, hired Oscar winner Chloe Zhao to helm the film. Despite its popular brand and star-studded cast, “Eternals” was slammed for its overwrought scale and clunky character motivations.
Nanjiani spent an entire year in the gym to prepare for his big studio movie break, only for it to end up with a 47% Rotten Tomatoes rating from critics. The actor said Tuesday he was “too aware” of the reviews, read “every” one and started acting “unfair” to himself and his wife Emily Gordon.
“Some shit has to change,” he recalled thinking on the podcast, “so I started counseling.”
“I still talk to my therapist about that,” Nanjiani continued. “Emily says that I do have trauma from it. We actually just got dinner with somebody else from that movie and we were like, ‘That was tough, wasn’t it?’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, that was really tough.’”
Nanjiani previously received an Oscar nod for co-writing "The Big Sick" (2017) with his wife.
The movie co-starred Barry Keoghan, Kit Harington, Angelina Jolie, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek and many others. Nanjiani reportedly put on 25 pounds of muscle for the role, chronicled his journey and shared his own Men’s Health cover on Instagram.
“I found out a year ago I was going to be in Marvel’s Eternals and decided I wanted to transform how I looked,” he wrote. “I would not have been able to do this if I didn’t have a full year with the best trainers and nutritionist paid for by the biggest studio in the world.”
The actor argued Tuesday “there was some weird soup in the atmosphere” when “Eternals” hit theaters. He previously received an Oscar nod for co-writing “The Big Sick” (2017) and will next be seen in a new “Ghostbusters” installment (2024) alongside its original cast.