“I feel a dearth of stories about non-white people in popular culture in my own movie-going experience,” reveals Zoe Kazan during our recent interview (watch the exclusive video above) about “The Big Sick.” “So to be apart of bringing this story to screen felt like a unique opportunity.” Directed by Michael Showalter, this Lionsgate and Amazon Studios film centers on Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), a Pakistani comedian who falls in love with American Emily (Zoe Kazan), much to the ire of his traditional Muslim family. Their relationship takes a sudden turn when Emily falls into a medically-induced coma, and Kumail takes charge of the situation when her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) arrive.
The film was written by Nanjiani, a co-star of HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” and his wife Emily V. Gordon, who based it on their real life experiences. “I think it’s really interesting to do a movie where it’s a true story but… somebody who it happened to is in the movie,” divulges Hunter. “There’s something about that proximity that makes the movie more visceral.”
Hunter won an Oscar as Best Actress for “The Piano” (1993) and has competed three more times (Best Actress for “Broadcast News” in 1987, Best Supporting Actress for “The Firm” in 1993, and Best Supporting Actress for “Thirteen” in 2003). Kazan contended at the Emmys as Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress for “Olive Kitteridge” in 2015.
“The Big Sick” opened to wide critical acclaim and boffo box office in limited release. The film expands wide on July 14. Could it follow in the footsteps of such romantic comedies as “Annie Hall” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral” at the Oscars?