Kumail Nanjiani Sought Therapy After 'Eternals': "The Reviews Were Bad, and I Was Too Aware of It"

"Marvel thought that movie was going to be really, really well reviewed"

Photo: Sophie Mutevelian

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Feb 7, 2024

Kumail Nanjiani has shared that bad reviews for Marvel's maligned 2021 blockbuster Eternals led him to start seeing a therapist.

In a recent appearance on podcast Inside of You, hosted by actor Michael Rosenbaum, the actor shared, "The reviews were bad, and I was too aware of it. I was reading every review and checking too much."

Nanjiani's turn in the hotly-anticipated Eternals also saw him get exceptionally jacked, and last year, he shared how his transformation for the Chloé Zhao-directed film led to struggles with self-image.

Now, the actor has characterized his awareness of the film's tepid critical reception as "really, really hard," recalling, "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."

Nanjiani shared that said press tour — which at one point saw Eternals stars pivot to making virtual appearances after a potential COVID-19 exposure — made the entire experience feel "heightened."

"I think there was some weird soup in the atmosphere for why that movie got slammed so much, and I think not much of it has to do with the actual quality of the movie," he expressed.

It certainly wasn't due to the quality of his own performance. In Exclaim!'s 4/10 review of Eternals, Nanjiani and Harish Patel (playing Nanjiani's character's manager) were praised for their ability to "provide comic relief in a film that desperately needs it."

"It was really hard, and that was when I thought it was unfair to me and unfair to [my wife Emily V. Gordon], and I can’t approach my work this way anymore. Some shit has to change, so I started counselling. I still talk to my therapist about that.

"Emily says that I do have trauma from it," Nanjiani continued. "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,' and I think we all went through something similar."

Nanjiani's filmography since Eternals has seen him executive produce and act in Welcome to Chippendales, appear in Star Wars miniseries Obi-Wan Kenobi, and lend his voice to episodes of The Simpsons and Big Mouth.

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