Kumail Nanjiani Doesn’t Want ‘The Big Sick’ to Be Interpreted as a Political Statement

The L.A. premiere of Amazon Studios’ “The Big Sick” took place Monday evening at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood. Hitting the red carpet were star, writer and executive producer Kumail Nanjiani, writer and executive producer Emily V. Gordon, director Michael Showalter, producers Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel along with some of the film’s stars Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano and Aidy Bryant.

The film, which debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is based on the real-life romance between Nanjiani and Gordon. When Emily (played by Zoe Kazan) is placed in a medically-induced coma as she suffers from a mysterious illness, Kumail (Nanjiani) must deal with the personal hardship. Concurrently, Kumail is forced to hide his relationship from his traditional Pakistani-Muslim family.

“I felt that even though this is a very personal story obviously based on a true story there were very important themes and universal ideas in the script that appealed to me about Americans struggling to figure things out and doing their best and not doing it perfectly,” Showalter told Variety

Apatow agrees that when a story this distinctive is laid out, it is up to directors and producers to make sure that these stories are told and shared with the masses.

“It’s very rare when someone approaches you with a story that is this unique, or a story that you haven’t heard yet, while also being very heartfelt and hilarious,” Apatow said.

Production of  “The Big Sick” took place exactly one year ago, during a time that many of the film’s cast members felt was a completely different political climate as compared to now. Nanjiani said that there are many coincidences that correspond with the movie’s release, but “The Big Sick” shouldn’t be viewed as a political proclamation.

“It is interesting that the movie is being seen in a different context than it was intended,” Nanjiani said. “Obviously it would be great if our movie came out and people didn’t see it as a political statement because it really isn’t. It is just a love story and a comedy.”

He added: “I just hope people watch it and maybe there will be a happy side-effect that will humanize those who are currently being profiled or who are shown in a way that differs from who they really are.”

“The Big Sick” is scheduled for a limited release from Lionsgate on June 23, with a wide release set for July 14.

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