Kumail Nanjiani's Explains Whether His Welcome To Chippendales Character Is More Like Walter White Or Saul Goodman [Exclusive]

With the trailer for "Magic Mike: The Last Dance" about to drop and Hulu's new series "Welcome to Chippendales" set to premiere on November 22, the historical legacy of the male revue is in great hands. Even though actor Kumail Nanjiani molded himself into a chiseled, muscular God for Marvel's "The Eternals," he might not be the first face that comes to mind when imagining an origin story about how the Chippendales brand came to be. The founder of Chippendales was Indian immigrant Somen "Steve" Banerjee, a seemingly reserved, ethical businessman on the surface who, in reality, led a life of corruption that nearly destroyed his rising empire.  

Nanjiani plays Banerjee in the new series, which chronicles the start of the first Chippendales club in Los Angeles. The provocative brand went on to become a mainstream cultural phenomenon in the late '70s and throughout the excess of the 1980's. And that's before it becomes a criminal enterprise, complete with arson and murder.

If connecting Nanjiani to a story centering around male strippers seems unconventional, another strange comparison looks at the possible similarities between his character in "Welcome to Chippendales" with TV icons Walter White and Saul Goodman from "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul." It's an apt comparison though when considering what actually led to Banjeree's downfall. Was he always a villain like Walter White or did he become corrupted over time in tiny increments like Saul Goodman?

'I think he has this fire inside of him'

Answering that question in an interview with /Film's Jacob Hall, Nanjiani theorized that his character probably has a little more in common with one more than the other. "I think he's more Walter White," Nanjiani says. "I think the things about him that caused him to do the bad stuff are in him from the beginning. He just doesn't have the power to do anything about it, but he has that impotence."

If Nanjiani's comments are any indication, the last half (at least) of "Welcome to Chippendales" should wind up showing some pretty elicit behavior by the time the finale rolls around. Diving into the deeper recesses of his character, Nanjiani tells /Film:

"He has that impotent anger inside him and later that same impotent anger comes out in more dangerous ways, so I think he's always got that in him. I think he has this fire inside of him that he's trying to contain from the very beginning. I think that's why he's so stiff and tight. I always thought of every molecule in his body as trying to keep the fire inside his belly from getting out, and it doesn't always work."

This show is really about how the once inspiring immigrant story of Steve Banerjee had a tragic ending. But Nanjiani explains that this isn't just a simple story about corruption. He continues:

"So, it's not really a guy who becomes corrupted, even though that's sort of an easier way to look at it. It's a guy who's always had the corruption and just never learns to deal with it. And the increased power is what allows him to do the bad things that he wouldn't have done in the beginning."

"Welcome to Chippendales" premieres November 22 on Hulu.