Kumail Nanjiani describes 'the most gratifying' experience from promoting his movie

By Nick Romano
July 12, 2017 at 03:05 PM EDT
Sarah Shatz/Lionsgate

The Big Sick writer and star Kumail Nanjiani says he has been overwhelmed by the positive, emotional responses to his new film.

For the actor, “the most gratifying” experience in making the romantic comedy wasn’t the critical praise or the impressive box office numbers for the indie darling, but “talking to [people and] hearing their stories” in response to the film.

“We just got back a whirlwind multi-continent tour to promote #TheBigSick,” Nanjiani began in a Twitter thread posted Wednesday. “We did interviews, Q&A’s after screenings, ate a lot. I met people I never thought I’d meet. People I’ve been a fan of for decades have been watching the movie & reaching out. I’ve gotten messages from people I look up to that would make a teenage Kumail’s head explode. They make an adult Kumail’s head explode.”

Some of the people he spoke with — who he wrote “saw a piece of them[selves] on screen for the [first] time” — include “a young man of Indian/Pakistani heritage” who “stood up in NY next to his white girlfriend & was choking up so hard he couldn’t get words out,” “gay people from my part of the world who aren’t out to their parents,” and people “in multi-cultural relationships who started a food truck together.”

Nanjiani co-wrote the Big Sick script with his wife, Emily V. Gordon, who used her own rare condition, adult-onset Still’s disease, as inspiration for the plot. “Emily met someone who has the same ultra-rare condition as her,” Nanjiani added. “It was the first time she’d met something with it.”

The actor continued to share touching stories from filmgoers on Twitter who supported the film, which has earned $7.2 million domestically since debuting in theaters last month.

“I’m overwhelmed, moved, stunned, grateful, thankful, connected,” he tweeted. “I feel like an open wound. In a good way. Everything makes me feel so much. I want to thank everyone who came to the movie & felt compelled to share their stories. I will always remember each one. You’re also the reason theaters keep adding us. [Three] weeks ago, we were told the goal was 1,000 screens. This weekend, we open in over 2,500. That is crazy huge. It means theaters believe ppl want to see the movie. This is a huge vote of confidence. But it’s also scary.”

“The fact we’re going this wide with a fraction of the advertising budget of most summer movies is absurd. It’s all word of mouth,” he added. “[People] see the movie [and] tell their friends. So [please] continue to do that. I am truly in awe of [people] right now. But we still have a long way to go.”