Interview: Kumail Nanjiani on THE BIG SICK

Kumail Nanjiani has appeared in numerous films and television shows in bit parts over the last 10 years, but the comedian (best-known as the awkward developer Dinesh on HBO’s Silicon Valley) is finally assuming a lead role with The Big Sick, a semi-autobiographical, romantic comedy that Nanjiani co-wrote with his wife Emily V. Gordon.

Directed by Michael Showalter, the film stars Nanjiani as an up-and-coming standup comic and Zoe Kazan as Emily, a grad student studying to be a therapist. The movie recounts their early relationship, as they meet and fall in love in Chicago. Just like in real life, their relationship is challenged when Emily contracts a rare disease that forces her into a coma. During this frightening time, while doctors struggle to diagnose and treat her, Kumail sticks around the hospital. He gets to know her parents (Ray Romano and Holly Hunter) and summons the courage to tell his traditional Pakistani family that he has fallen for Emily.

I caught up with Kumail Nanjiani about the challenging process of casting his family in The Big Sick, his evolution as a standup comedian, and the complicated layers of immigrant identity that he explores in his film.

Read the full piece here.

Evan Crean

Hello! My name is Evan Crean. By day I work for a marketing agency, but by night, I’m a film critic based in Boston, MA who has been at it since 2009. I have written hundreds of movie reviews and celebrity interviews for Starpulse.com. I have also contributed pieces to NewEnglandFilm.com. In addition to publishing short form work, I am a co-author of the book Your ’80s Movie Guide to Better Living, which is available on CreateSpace and Amazon. On top of writing, I co-host and edit the weekly film podcast Spoilerpiece Theatre with two other Boston film critics. I’m a founding member and the current treasurer for the Boston Online Film Critics Association as well. Lastly, I’m the marketing director and a contributor to Boston Reel, a site dedicated to Boston’s independent film culture. Have any questions or comments about my work? Please feel free to email me (Evan Crean) at: ecrean AT reelrecon DOT COM .