Kumail Nanjiani says he needed therapy after bad reviews for Marvel's Eternals

Kumail Nanjiani
Kumail Nanjiani played an alien who came to Earth in Eternals

Eternals actor Kumail Nanjiani has said he was so affected by bad reviews for the 2021 Marvel film that he started going to therapy as a result.

The star said he had spent months in training to prepare for the role.

But the movie received mixed reviews and disappointed at the box office.

Nanjiani said he was "too aware" of what critics thought, explaining: "It was really, really hard because Marvel thought that movie was going to be really, really well reviewed."

He added: "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."

Nanjiani, who is best known for playing Dinesh in HBO comedy series Silicon Valley, said the impact was exacerbated by the press tour taking place during Covid.

Speaking on Michael Rosenbaum's Inside of You podcast, he said: "I think there was some weird soup in the atmosphere for why that movie got slammed so much, and I think not much of it has to do with the actual quality of the movie.

"It was really hard, and that was when I thought it was unfair to me and unfair to [my wife] Emily, and I can't approach my work this way any more. Some [thing] has to change, so I started counselling. I still talk to my therapist about that.

"Emily says that I do have trauma from it," he added.

"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', and I think we all went through something similar."

'Superhero clichés'

The 45-year-old actor and stand up comedian played an alien who came to Earth to protect his planet, becoming a Bollywood star to blend in.

But despite high anticipation for the film, which was directed by Oscar winner Chloé Zhao, it received a relatively poor 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and achieved the lowest score of any Marvel Cinematic Universe film in audience survey Cinema Score.

Empire said at the time of release: "Chloé Zhao's entry into the superhero world is assured, ambitious and told on a dizzyingly cosmic scale - but even it can't escape the clichés of superhero storytelling."

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw wrote: "There are some nice touches and an attractive new diversity worn lightly, but this is an underpowered and uncertain film."

Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V Gordon, were Oscar nominees in 2018 for their romantic comedy The Big Sick, in which he starred alongside Zoe Kazan.

He's one of many stars who have spoken out about dealing with bad reviews in film and TV.

Melissa McCarthy said in an interview that she confronted a critic at the Toronto Film Festival who had previously criticised her for her appearance in 2014 film Tammy.

Jennifer Lawrence said in Variety that she gets defensive after reading negative reviews of her work. "You're so in the zone, you put your whole soul and body, you move to shoot a movie, and you then love it, obviously because you wouldn't be there if you didn't love it, and then people just destroy it," she explained.