Kumail Nanjiani doesn’t regret refusing to exaggerate his accent for a “really, really big movie.”
The Pakistani-American actor has discussed his frustrations at auditioning for “stereotypical brown guy roles” that required him to play up his accent in order to land the part.
“I have a Pakistani accent, but they would be like, ‘Could you make it funnier? Lean in a little bit.’ And at some point, I decided I just wasn’t going to do that,” he told Variety’s #REPRESENT: Success Stories. “There are certain parts that require a thicker Pakistani or Indian accent, and that’s totally fine, but I just didn’t want the comedy to just be coming from someone exaggerating their accent.”
The Big Sick star went on to recall one audition in which the director of a major movie asked him to exaggerate his accent for the part of a taxi driver.
“So there was a really, really big movie, actually, that I auditioned for, and I was a taxi driver, and the director was like, ‘Hey, could you play up the accent a little bit?’ And I was like, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t.’ And then the guy felt really bad,” the 42-year-old recalled. “And I was like, ‘No, it’s fine. I’m just not going to do it. If that’s what you want, I’m not your guy’… And then that movie was hugely successful. Still, I don’t regret it.”
While Nanjiani did not name the movie or the director, back in 2014, he did state during an episode of his now-defunct podcast The Indoor Kids that he auditioned for a part in Deadpool.
In the 2016 comic book movie, Ryan Reynolds’ character befriends a taxi driver named Dopinder, who is played by Indian-born American actor Karan Soni, who reprised the role in the 2018 sequel.
– Cover Media0