Kumail Nanjiani Opens Up About Undergoing Therapy After 'Traumatic' Response To Marvel's Eternals

"Some s*** had to change, so I started counselling..."
Kumail Nanjiani in character as Kingo in Eternals
Kumail Nanjiani in character as Kingo in Eternals
Sophie Mutevelian/Shutterstock

Kumail Nanjiani has disclosed that he was so “traumatised” by the reaction to his film Eternals that it led him to begin therapy.

While there was plenty of excitement around the initial announcement that Kumail would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Kingo Sunen, the resulting movie was not exactly well-received by critics.

On the reviews aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Eternals holds a critics’ score of 47%, while over on Letterboxd, it has been ranked 2.8 stars of a possible five by film fans.

During an appearance on the interview series Inside Of You, Kumail shared that he was “too aware” of the negative reaction to Eternals, and found himself “reading every review and checking too much”.

“It was really, really hard because Marvel thought that movie was going to be really, really well reviewed,” the Big Sick star said of the Chloe Zhao-directed superhero film.

“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.”

Defending Eternals, Kumail blamed “weird soup in the atmosphere” for it being “slammed”, rather than the “actual quality of the movie”.

Kumail and some of his A-list co-stars in Eternals
Kumail and some of his A-list co-stars in Eternals
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel Studios/Moviestore/Shutterstock

He recalled: “It was really hard, and that was when I thought it was unfair to me and unfair to Emily [V Gordon, Kumail’s wife and frequent collaborator], and I can’t approach my work this way anymore. Some shit had to change, so I started counselling. I still talk to my therapist about that.”

Kumail added: “Emily says that I do have trauma from it.

“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,’ and I think we all went through something similar.”

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon at a Disney event last month
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon at a Disney event last month
Jerod Harris via Getty Images

Eternals also starred Gemma Chan, Richard Madden and Angelina Jolie.

While there was initially speculation about a continuation of the story around the film’s release, rumours about a sequel have since been debunked.

Help and support:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
  • CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email help@themix.org.uk
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.

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