Kumail Nanjiani urges Hollywood to look beyond ‘everyone named Chris’
Actor-writer Kumail Nanjiani praised the power of diversity and called on the industry to do better in terms with inclusion, saying “everyone named Chris” had all the power in Hollywood. The Pakistani-American was speaking at The Hollywood Reporter’s inaugural Empowerment in Entertainment gala Tuesday.
Nanjiani, 41, said to empower is to give “someone the authority or power to do something”. “Power is all about what you’ve done for yourself. Empowerment is about what you’ve done for others — that you can then brag about to others at power lunches. Huge difference,” the comic joked.
“It implies a certain party does have the power. In Hollywood, it’s everyone named Chris,” he quipped. “Everyone named Chris has all the power, and this gala is about sharing that power with people with less bankable names,” the actor added.
The Big Sick writer-actor, who was nominated for Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2018 with wife Emily V Gordon, explained giving opportunity to a diverse people entailed empowerment.
“Giving people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, women, persons with disabilities, women of colour, the LGBTQ communities, people of colour, women, people of varying religions, and women more opportunities to make the kinds of movies and TV shows that Hollywood lets all of the Chrises make,” he said.
Nanjiani also underscored the importance of diversity and inclusion on screen. “If (movies and TV shows) don’t reflect the world we live in, the image that’s on screen gets superimposed onto our reality, and it erases groups of people, and it becomes so that only certain people are able to create, and that only the stories of certain groups of people matter,” he said.
The actor is in negotiations to join Angelina Jolie in Marvel’s upcoming film The Eternals. The studio gave a new lease of life to three Chrises -- Captain America Evans, ‘Thor’ Hemsworth, and StarLord Chris Pratt.
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