(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) In its bid to whitewash historic racism in the film industry, movie production companies have overcompensated by effectively blacklisting minority actors from portraying bad guys, according to one Marvel movie star.
In a recent interview with Esquire, actor Kumail Nanjiani, who portrays Kingo in 2021’s The Eternals, revealed that he was told studios refuse to hire nonwhite actors to play villain roles, according to the Daily Wire.
“I think that Hollywood now—even though they’re trying to be more diverse—is still weird,” he said.
Nanjiani gave a few examples of white actors who have played a wide range of roles, including fellow Marvel actor Sebastian Stan.
Stan is famous for his character Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier in the Avengers series, but more recently played a cannibal in horror movie Fresh.
“He does these big Marvel movies, and then he’ll play a psychopath,” Nanjiani argued. “I was told that’s going to be hard because people don’t want to cast nonwhite people as bad guys.”
Nanjiani claimed that even if the intent behind the race restrictions is well meaning, it is still a hindrance to actors of color—whom Hollywood often claims to be helping.
“That’s just as limiting as anything else,” the Silicon Valley actor said. “I want to play more bad guys.”
Nanjiani recently starred in the Hulu series Welcome to Chippendales as a villain; however, he said that if the story were not a biographical story based on an immigrant from India, the part would have gone to a white actor.
“Good intentions can sometimes lead to misguided solutions: If the bad guy is a brown guy, what message is that sending?” he asked.
The Chippendale’s retrospective shows a man’s arc into life of success and descent into crime.
“I’ve never gotten the opportunity to play a character like this, who has such a big arc and a descent into darkness. I’ve always [wanted to play] the bad guy—I don’t mean just guys who were kind of sh**y; I mean a bad bad guy,” he said.