When actors get themselves involved with a franchise, they’re also signing on for all the added pressure that is created by a fandom. These dedicated groups of followers can be tricky, especially when your name is attached to something they didn’t particularly care for. Unfortunately for Kumail Nanjiani, he had to learn this the hard way as he revealed that he sought out counseling for his mental health after going on the press tour for Marvel’s 2021 flop, Eternals.
Critics Weren’t Any Nicer Than The Fans
Not only did the fans seemingly have nothing but negative things to say about the Chloe Zhao-directed film, but the critics weren’t very kind about it either. Kumail Nanjiani remembers going on the promotional tour to boost the word for the Eternals all the while keeping up with the reviews that were already pouring in. “The reviews were bad, and I was too aware of it,” the Silicon Valley star recalls.
Sometimes A Watched Pot Boils Too Much
While it’s tempting to stay up to date on what critics and audiences are saying about your latest project, doing it too much can prove detrimental to one’s mental health – especially if it’s all bad. “I was reading every review and checking too much,” Kumail Nanjiani adds, putting part of the blame for his mental health decline on himself. What made everything worse for Nanjiani and the rest of the cast – which included big names like Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, and Kit Harrington – was that the studio had led them to believe that Eternals would be a sure-fire hit.
Lifting The Embargo
One poor decision that Marvel made that had a lasting effect on Kumail Nanjiani’s mental health was deciding to lift the title’s embargo ahead of schedule and also drop “it in some fancy movie festivals.” Superhero films have long been given hate by certain members of Hollywood who see them as a less-than cinematic art form. With this in mind, it was probably not in the studio’s best interest to enter their latest project into the extremely competitive festival circuit.
So, essentially, there Kumail Nanjiani was, alongside the rest of his co-stars, traveling the world and chatting day in and out about a film that was already gaining traction as one of the worst pictures to come out in 2021. The actor refers to the failure of Eternals as a bit of “weird soup in the atmosphere,” blaming the movie’s failure on a mixture of things – none of which he believes had anything “to do with the actual quality of the movie.” After suffering both privately and with his wife, Nanjiani says that he decided it was time to seek out a therapist.
So Far The Eternals Trauma Has Proven… Eternal
Now, two and a half years have passed since Eternals landed in theaters and Kumail Nanjiani says that the trauma is still very much present for him. The actor also underwent a massive change to his physical appearance to claim the role in the Marvel film, something that only added to the continuous pressure from critics and fans. Nowadays, he’s more comfortable talking about both his body transformation and the failure of the film as he’s had some time to process
Marvel’s Eternals centered on a group of immortal heroes who have found their place among the mortals of Earth but find themselves called together to take on a group of sinister villains known as the Deviants. The film wasn’t necessarily something that audiences were looking for when it came to the MCU which is likely part of the reason it was such a disaster. Although the casting team stacked the call sheet with Kumail Nanjiani and other huge names, including a cameo from Harry Styles, the flick just didn’t deliver the same punch as other titles from the studio.