Kumail Nanjiani And Emily Gordon's Science Fiction Script Is A 'Dream Project' [Exclusive]

Before he became a superhero in "Eternals," a runaway Jedi in "Obi-Wan Kenobi," or even the hapless rideshare driver Stu in "Stuber," actor Kumail Nanjiani worked his way up through the industry thanks to his stand-up comedy in New York City. The unbelievable story of how he and his wife, creative partner, and fellow screenwriter Emily V. Gordon ultimately met and fell in love defies expectations, which naturally led to the semi-autobiographical dramedy "The Big Sick" in 2017 (you can read /Film's original review by Ethan Anderton here). 

Co-written by the couple, produced by Gordon, and starring Nanjiani as himself alongside Zoe Kazan as Emily, the hit film dramatizes the pair's made-for-movies journey, navigating their early careers, Gordon's diagnosis of Still's disease, and at least one incredible 9/11 joke that still feels like a mini-masterpiece in writing and comic timing. Watch it, if you haven't yet!

In the years since, Nanjiani and Gordon have both dipped their toes in more mainstream waters — Nanjiani with a handful of high-profile roles in major blockbuster franchises, Gordon with writing credits on HBO's "Crashing," co-creating and executive producing the Apple TV+ series "Little America," and even signing on to write an animated "Play-Doh" feature. The range! But with the release of Hulu's "Welcome to Chippendales," which both Nanjiani and Gordon have teamed up on creatively, one can't help but wonder when the two will go back to producing another original story and personal passion project.

In a recent interview with /Film's Jacob Hall, Nanjiani opened up about the next "dream project" on the agenda that takes a more sci-fi approach and is currently in development.

'There are more hoops to jump through'

Speaking with /Film ahead of the release of "Welcome to Chippendales," Kumail Nanjiani was asked about "the next 'Big Sick'" up his sleeve now that he's gotten huge IPs such as Marvel and "Star Wars" out of his system. According to the actor:

"...there's a movie that Emily and I wrote that we just sent the last rewrite in. I would love to be able to make that movie. The tricky thing is you make something like a 'Big Sick,' which is very, very cheap, was $5 million. We had a producer named Judd Apatow sort of protecting us, so we really got to make that movie the way we wanted to make it. And then after that, we were like, 'Let's make movies that are also the types of movies that we like.'

"We like sort of bigger movies. The challenge then is even though we had so much success with it, and we were nominated for an Oscar, more money means that there's going to be more eyes on it. There are more hoops to jump through..."

Something all up-and-coming storytellers have to wrestle with is the unexpected complications of success, which tend to minimize autonomy and put their next efforts in the hands of studio executives and other higher-ups. Nanjiani and Gordon are clearly aware of how fortunate they were with "The Big Sick" and spent much of the intervening years following their desire to do "bigger movies" (and shows). After this creative detour, however, it sounds like they're ready to get back to their roots, in a manner of speaking.

'it's just as personal in many ways'

For fans of "The Big Sick," any updates on Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon's next big collaboration have been a long time coming. But finally, we have some concrete information on just what they intend to do next ... should everything fall into place, that is. In the same interview, Nanjiani went on to describe the movie he plans to make with Gordon:

"...so this next movie that we wrote is not as nakedly autobiographical as 'The Big Sick,' but it's just as personal in many ways. It's actually a sci-fi movie, and I would love to be able to make it. That's my dream project. In a way, we're at the mercy of the studio now ... They bought the script. Now do they want to make the movie?"

If Nanjiani and Gordon get their way, their next big follow-up after "The Big Sick" will go from the familiar trappings of comedy to the unlimited potential of sci-fi. That might seem like a huge leap for any creative to make, especially now that we're well over five years removed from their 2017 critical darling, but Gordon's clever and sharp writing combined with Nanjiani's charisma and sense of humor should make this just as much of a must-see as their previous film was. 

However this next production unfolds, fans can see Nanjiani and Gordon's "Welcome to Chippendales" when it debuts November 22, 2022 on Hulu.