Kumail Nanjiani wants more South Asian representation in Hollywood

The Big Sick star believes all South Asian people “get squished into one thing”.

Kumail Nanjiani has called for more South Asian representation in Hollywood movies.

The Big Sick star, who is Pakistani-American, is pushing for more interesting and distinct roles being made available to actors and actresses of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi descent.

“(When) we’re represented here, it all gets flattened into one thing. Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, it all gets squished into one,” Nanjiani told Variety’s #REPRESENT: Success Stories. “Obviously, on-screen representation is important, but I think writing, directing, those things are very, very important because we just need more people telling their stories.”

"If someone says, ‘Oh, you know that hit Asian movie,’ I want people to be like, ‘Which one?’” he added.

The 42-year-old actor, who will be starring as superhero Kingo in Marvel's upcoming blockbuster The Eternals, confessed it was hard to have meetings regarding representation in Hollywood, because movie bosses are only guessing what audiences want.

“Rather than making something that you could be proud of, people are trying to guess what audiences want, which is hard, because there’s no way to know what audiences want. All you can know is what you want, and what you want to see,” he explained.

The Eternals, also starring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Richard Madden, is scheduled to hit cinemas in February 2021.

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