“The Big Sick” actor Kumail Nanjiani’s next movie might see him switch to the more dramatic side. He is in talks to star in “The True American,” where he will play a Muslim immigrant and a veteran of the Bangladesh Air Force. The movie is based on a 2014 novel of the same name by Anand Giridharadas.
It is set in a post 9/11 Texas and tells the true story of the Muslim immigrant, Rais Bhuiyan, employeed in a Dallas convenience store. He survived a deadly killing spree that killed two others. His attacker, Mark Stroman, is sentenced to an execution. However, Rais sets out on a journey to forgive Mark, saving him from his death and also starts the process of ending the state’s execution program. Mark Ruffalo, known for his portrayal of The Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is in talks to play the Stroman character. Actress Amy Adams is also in talks to star in the film with Nanjiani and Ruffalo.
“The True American” has been in development for a while now. Katheryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”) was going to direct it but she will now help produce the movie. The movie will also be produced by Annapurna Pictures and Juan de Dios Larrain. Before Nanjiani and Ruffalo were approached, Riz Ahmed and Tom Hardy (who will now both be seen in the upcoming superhero film “Venom”) were attached to star in it.
If Nanjiani does this film, it will be his first major attempt at a serious movie. His previous credits, besides “The Big Sick,” include his series regular role on the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley,” which will premiere its fifth season on Sunday, March 25. He’s had guest roles on “Broad City” and “The Grinder” among other TV shows. In 2017, he was the second South Asian to host late night sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live.” His film credits include “Fist Fight” and “The Lego Ninjago Movie.”
The actor is on quite a roll because he was nominated for an Academy Award earlier this year along with his wife, Emily V. Gordon, for their screenplay work on “The Big Sick.” He continues to bring diverse stories to life, as evidenced by the next two shows he is working on. For Apple, Nanjiani is developing an immigrant anthology series called “Little America” and he is also working on a TV remake of the 1985 film “My Beautiful Laundrette,” a beautiful story about a gay Pakistani man.
On the big screen, Nanjiani will next be seen in comedy “Duck Butter,” which comes out on April 27 and stars Alia Shawkat, Laia Costa, and Hong Chau. He’s also signed on to play an Uber driver named Stu in an action comedy called “Staber,” alongside Dave Bautista, who gets pulled into a harrowing ordeal because of his passenger, a cop who is hot on the trails of a brutal killer.
Nanjiani is a trailblazer whose work is gaining its much-due momentum and we can’t wait to see what he does in “The True American” if its made. According to Deadline, talks are on with Amazon Studios, as well, to get the ground running on its production.