Kumail Nanjiani: Holly Hunter ‘Loved’ Improvising on Sundance Breakout ‘The Big Sick’

Holly Hunter may not be known as a comedian, but according to “The Big Sick” writer and star Kumail Nanjiani, the veteran actress was all over it. Hunter and Nanjiani joined fellow star Zoe Kazan, producers Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel, director Michael Showalter, and writer Emily Gordon to talk about the comedy at the Variety Studio presented by Orville Redenbacher’s at the Sundance Film Festival.

“All the actors, especially Kumail and Ray Romano, are very improvisational,” said Showalter. “But we also went in with a script and a game plan. You always try to make sure you’re not depending on improvisation to make a scene good. You want to go in there and make sure that you’ve done the work on the script, but then also, once you feel like you have that, then you can kind of go off of it.”

“And Zoe — I assume you’d done improv before a bunch, because she was really good at it,” added Nanjiani. “Holly, she had never done it, but then she was really great at it too. And you loved doing it, right?”

Egged on by Kazan, Hunter answered, “A lot of it was British, and it wasn’t in the movie!”


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