Kumail Nanjiani is opening up about how the critically panned MCU installment “Eternals” affected his mental health.
The “Big Sick” star revealed that after the Marvel movie bombed in 2021, he sought counseling. The film, directed by Oscar winner Chloé Zhao, currently has a 47 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is one of the worst-reviewed Marvel movies of all-time.
“The reviews were bad, and I was too aware of it,” Nanjiani said during an episode of the “Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum” podcast. “I was reading every review and checking too much.”
Nanjiani continued of the actors’ press tour, “It was really, really hard because 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. 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 added, “It was really hard, and that was when I thought it was unfair to me and unfair to (my wife) Emily (Gordon), and I can’t approach my work this way anymore. Some shit has to change, so I started counseling. I still talk to my therapist about that. Emily says that I do have trauma from it.”
And Nanjiani isn’t the only “Eternals” actor to recall the “tough” marketing campaign behind the movie: The star added that a fellow “Eternals” cast member still views the Marvel movie as an interesting experience.
“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 said. “I think we all went through something similar.”
“Eternals” co-starred Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, and Kit Harington, with Harry Styles having a cameo role.
Nanjiani previously spoke out about how his physical transformation for the film brought a lot of his issues with food “up to the surface,” telling NPR at the time, “I realized after that that I thought about food in a specific kind of way that I needed to explore and revisit.”
“I realized that I had been so rigid with food and used it in so many unhealthy ways and then forcing myself to eat unhealthy amounts of unhealthy food in a way got me out of that trap,” he said. “It’s still work to do, but it was freeing for months to just eat whatever I wanted, to eat as much as I wanted. It sort of freed me from some of the ways that I’ve been thinking about food.”