Posted on January 11, 2023

Kumail Nanjiani Was Told People Don’t Want to Cast Nonwhite Actors as Villains

James Hibberd, Hollywood Reporter, January 9, 2023

Kumail Nanjiani says Hollywood is still limiting the kinds of roles that actors of color can play.

The Eternals, Big Sick and Silicon Valley actor, who is promoting his recent Hulu limited series Welcome to Chippendales, said in a new interview that decision-makers are reluctant to cast nonwhite actors in villain roles.

“I think that Hollywood now — even though they’re trying to be more diverse — is still weird,” the actor told Esquire UK. The article notes Nanjiani believes that the problem is “good intentions can sometimes lead to misguided solutions: If the bad guy is a brown guy, what message is that sending?”

“And that’s just as limiting as anything else,” Nanjiani said. “I want to play more bad guys.” He pointed to actor Sebastian Stan, who plays Marvel superhero the Winter Solider as well as a cannibal in the 2022 movie Fresh. “He does these big Marvel movies, and then he’ll play a psychopath,” he says. “I was told that’s going to be hard because people don’t want to cast nonwhite people as bad guys.”