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SYFY WIRE Eternals

Eternals features the MCU's first Bollywood dance number, says Kumail Nanjiani

By Andrea Ayres
Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani did more than just get mega-ripped for his upcoming role in Eternals, he also learned how to Bollywood dance.

While speaking recently on Deadline's New Hollywood podcast, Nanjiani couldn't say much about the film, or exactly what powers his character, Kingo, will have, but he did open up about shooting with director Chloe Zhao; starring in the MCU's first Bollywood dance number; and what you should know ahead of time about the immortal beings known as the Eternals.

Be warned, minor possible spoilers ahead (though obviously nothing Kevin Feige wouldn't allow).

Speaking about working with Zhao, the Oscar-nominated comedian and writer said, "We shot a lot of stuff at magic hour..." — a common reference to the time shortly before sunrise and sunset — " looks beautiful, and it's all mostly practical [effects], we didn't do very much green screen at all."

It's unclear from the audio whether he was talking about the entire film using mostly practical effects, or just the magic hour footage. Either way, we're excited.

Nanjiani also noted that movie-goers should be armed with the following info about Jack Kirby's comic, which the film is based off of: "So basically, they are thousands of years old and they look great. (We moisturize.) We were sent thousands of years ago to protect Earth from these monsters called The Deviants. That's sort of our story. A lot of the story is set in the present, so by this point we've been on Earth for a long time."

The Eternals Vol .4 (cover by Daniel Acuna)

Nanjiani went on to explain exactly why his character would be performing in a big Bollywood dance number. "My character, for instance, we were all like 'keep a low profile no one should know' so I go and become a Bollywood movie star, that's my secret identity," he said. "We’re supposed to keep quiet and I’ve become the biggest Bollywood movie star."

Filming the MCU's first-ever Bollywood dance number was "really cool," according to Nanjiani, a strong advocate for increasing representation diversity in Hollywood. Being a part of an entire dance number with 52 actors of South Asian descent was an important moment for him. "I remember the first time I went to rehearsal, I walked into this gym and there were all these South Asian people. I was so moved immediately. I was like, 'Oh my God, we went from none of us to so many in one scene!'"

But dancing doesn't come naturally or easily to Nanjiani, who said “I took months of Bollywood dance classes to prepare for that. It’s really a workout."

The comedian offered nothing but praise for his fellow cast, calling Angelina Jolie (who plays Thena) absolutely amazing. Overall, Nanjiani appears pretty stoked about the film's unique look and feel, most notably regarding the film's diversity. "We have the first gay superhero, we have the first South Asian superhero, we have the first deaf superhero, we have the first Korean superhero, all in this mainstream Hollywood film."

At one point during the podcast, Nanjiani revealed a little too much about the upcoming film and had to be bleeped out. We're sure it's better this way, but boy do we wish we knew what he said!

In addition to Jolie, Nanjiani will star alongside Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kit Harington, Richard Madden, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, and Barry Keoghan.

According to the podcast, Zhao is editing the film now. Eternals is due in theaters on Nov. 6, 2020.