Major Hollywood actors can be deeply committed to a production they firmly believe will be an entertaining spectacle, but there's no guarantee their passion project will be embraced by critics and moviegoers.
When the final cut is released to the general public but subsequently underperforms at the box office, it can really affect the confidence of cast members in the film.
That is exactly what happened to stand-up comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani, who sought mental health counseling after his 2021 Marvel movie The Eternals didn't exactly measure up to the success of other MCU juggernauts.
The fact that the 45-year-old spent a year in training to pump up his physique and looked ripped as hell to portray Kingo, an Eternal who creates cosmic energy projectiles, added insult to injury.
On Tuesday's episode of Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, Nanjiani recalled how the disappointing Marvel experience hit him “really, really hard.”
"I was like, this is going to be a slam dunk and it'll be great, it'll open all this stuff for me," he told Rosenbaum about his thoughts going into the ambitious project that included A-listers Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie and a roster of other incredible up-and-comers who would later go on to shine in other notable projects.
“Marvel thought that movie was going to be really, really well reviewed, so they lifted the embargo early and put it in some fancy movie festivals and they sent us on a big global tour to promote the movie right as the embargo lifted."
Ultimately, The Eternals did not earn favorable reviews from both critics and audiences. It became one of the lowest-rated MCU films and was certified "rotten" with a 47% rating on the cinema review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
"That was very very tough for me," he said of the negative reception.
Although he went into production with positivity and preparation, with a thorough understanding of the sci-fi and superhero genre, he wasn't prepared for how it would be received.
"I realized that too much of how I'm evaluating what I want to do is based on the result what other people think of it."
After being obsessed with reading all the negative reviews of the film, he said the emotional trauma had all "become too much in my head."
When it all became overwhelming, he realized he was being unfair to himself and his wife, Emily Gordon.
"Some sh*t's gotta change," he realized, which was when he went into counseling.
Marvel fans showed transparency with their thoughts.
“I still talk to my therapist about that. Emily says that I do have trauma from it."
"We actually just got dinner with somebody else from that movie and we were like, ‘That was tough, wasn’t it?’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, that was really tough.’”
Nanjiani remains proud of his time on set. "I love that movie. I'm very proud of that movie. I'm proud of everyone's work in that movie and I'm proud of my work in it," he said.
Others defended the film and supported Nanjiani's performance in it.
@IGN Just saw it yesterday after I saw this, it's actually a good movie, no the best Marvel one, but really good one. His character is actually one of my favourite Eternal, cool power, hot and funny \ud83d\udc4c— (@)
The Eternals was helmed and co-written by Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao.
It boasted an incredible ensemble cast, including Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Kit Harington and, as mentioned earlier, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie.
Despite mixed reviews, The Eternals went on to gross $402.1 million worldwide.