Exclusive: Kumail Nanjiani and Annaleigh Ashford Discuss Welcome to Chippendales

Shirtless males plus a hell of lots of behind-the-scenes brouhaha in regards to the world’s most well-known all-male strip membership? It’s Welcome to Chippendales of us Pam & Tommy Before it, it is a wild trip.

Comparing the brand new Hulu restricted collection to the darkish comedy Pam & Tommy is not any accident. Robert Siegal was on board Pam & Tommy and is the creator of Welcome to Chippendales. He’s additionally one of many govt producers, alongside Eternals/Obi-Wan Kenobi/The Big Sick/Silicon Valley alum Kumail Nanjiani, who headlines the collection.

But of us searching for a glimpse of Nanjiani’s rock-hard abs, simmer down. In Welcome to Chippendales the fan-favorite retains his shirt on whereas different fellas drop trou after which some. Instead, Nanjiani performs Chippendales founder Somen “Steve” Banerjee, typically seen right here as a decided if not short-tempered man.


The miniseries chronicles the trippy story of energy struggles, wealth, and hitmen, because it tracks Banerjee’s highs and lows—the person went from fuel station supervisor and befuddled membership proprietor to spearheading a male-stripping dynasty, solely to enter a tailspin.

The sprawling true-crime sage additionally stars Murray Bartlett (White Lotus, Physical, Tales of the CityAnnaleigh AshfordB Positive, American Crime Story), Juliette Lewis (queer as folks), Quentin Plair, Robin de Jesus, Andrew Rannells (AHS: NYC, Invincible), with guest-starring turns from Nicola Peltz Beckham and Dan Stevens.

Nanjiani and Ashford opened as much as FilmWeb in regards to the miniseries and why it is the right time for it to premiere.

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A Cautionary Tale

In addition to Siegel and Nanjiani, Jenni Konner (womenMatt ShakmanWandaVision), Dylan Sellers, Emily V. Gordon, Nora Silver and Rajiv Joseph, who additionally serves as a author on Welcome to Chippendales together with Mehar Sethi. Siegel and Konner function co-showrunners and Shakman directs.

Inspired by true occasions that started within the late Seventies, Nanjiani mentioned he was instantly “drawn” to the collection for a number of causes.

“The real-life story behind the first decade-and-a-half of Chippendales is so wild, and so much stuff happened that nobody knows about,” he shared. “Obviously, you’ll be able to Google it and discover out, however that backstory is de facto not half of popular culture, even when Chippendales itself is. For me, there actually wasn’t a nasty time to inform a narrative like this, as a result of there’s simply a lot drama in it. I additionally assume it is particularly fascinating now to point out an immigrant. [Somen] making an attempt to barter success in America—that was thrilling to me.”

“And I’d never gotten to play a character like that,” Nanjiani added. “He does a lot of unforgivable things.”

The darkest sort of manipulation and revenge come to thoughts. Overall, Nanjiani mentioned he was, “excited for the challenge,” noting that whereas getting ready for the function, he puzzled, “How do I make sense of this man who does issues that do not make sense; issues which are dangerous to different folks—and dangerous to himself? How do you create a worldview that justifies that? That actually appealed to me.

Ashford beloved the Chippendales story, however “the era is one of my favourites. I mean, the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s—get ready hair, makeup, and wardrobe, and let’s go.”


She laughed, including: “But most importantly, I think the story is infinitely complicated. This woman [Irene, who eventually marries Somen] in particular, is put in a lot of complicated situations. She’s also an odd, awkward, in-love woman, but somebody who’s really an incredible businesswoman.”

“But she’s residing in an period the place the patriarchy isn’t going to permit her to reside the goals she has. They’re too massive for her time. So, the way in which she will entry these goals is thru her enterprise associate. [Somen], who occurs to be her husband. We get to observe a powerful girl make sturdy decisions, and, I feel, make the correct alternative in the long run.”

Related: Welcome to Chippendales: Plot, Cast, Release Date, and Everything Else We Know

Stripping Down the Message


The on-screen chemistry between Nanjiani and Ashford is noticeable. The two actors play effectively off one another—Ashford’s Irene is extra grounded in comparison with Nanjiani’s Somen, who can not seem to escape his inside struggles. Bartlett, who appears to be having fun with a stable profession wave after nabbing an Emmy for The White Lotus performs gregarious choreographer Nick De Noia right here—a relentless aggravation to Nanjiani’s character.

When requested what they really hoped audiences take away from Welcome to Chippendales Nanjiani and Ashford waxed philosophical.

“Sometimes I take a look at our jobs as storytellers and I’m going, ‘What are we doing for the world?’ And I feel it is a service to assist folks escape from their lives for, you recognize, 45 minutes, and take a look at what they wish to be, who they wish to be, and the way they will make the world a greater place,” Ashford mused. . “This show is a delightful look back at what we could have done better at a specific time in history. It also makes you laugh. And you get to see some beautiful men do some beautiful dancing—without clothing. I think it also makes you want to be a better person. There’s a lot of morality and love in this show.” She laughed. “Wow, I really went ‘there,’ didn’t I?”

Nanjiani agreed. “Yes, love and morality. Honestly, I would like folks to have a very good time watching the present. Because it has every part you need from leisure. It’s humorous. It’s transferring. It’s thrilling. It’s thrilling. It’s scary. It’s sophisticated. When I watch a film, I wish to really feel every part I can probably really feel. And I feel that the present does that. It’s actually enjoyable to observe.”

The first two episodes of Welcome to Chippendales premiere completely on Hulu on November 22, with one new episode rolling out weekly.

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