The Big Sick and Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani is in talks to join Sony’s Men in Black reboot, according to That Hashtag Show.
Nanjiani would reportedly play Pawny, who’s described as a wise-cracking, sex-driven alien from a civilization that exists on a chess board.
Screenwriting duo Art Marcum and Matt Holloway will write the screenplay. Steven Spielberg is returning as executive producer for the project, as he produced the three previous installments in the franchise. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are leading the film. In May 2018, Liam Neeson joined the cast, while Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald will act as producers on the project. The film is scheduled to be released on June 14, 2019.
Men in Black began life as cult comic book published by Aircel Comics in the early 1990s, then went on to become a hit movie franchise starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, spawning three films and making over $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
Sony’s rebooted Men in Black will still take place in the original films’ same sci-fi universe, where humans live alongside aliens, and secret agents called the Men in Black take care of law and order. Hemsworth will be playing the suave-but-goofy Agent H. He’ll be joined by Tessa Thompson as Molly, a young woman who believes in aliens and wants to join the MiB. Liam Neeson will be playing the leader of the British MiB.
While known for bit parts and playing nerdy programmer Dinesh Chugtai on HBO’s sitcom Silicon Valley, Nanjiani’s true Hollywood break-out happened in 2017 when he co-wrote and starred in The Big Sick, the unconventional romantic comedy based on his relationship with his wife and co-screenwriter Emily V. Gordon.
Coming off his star turn in The Big Sick, Nanjiani has already lined up several new projects. In 2019, he’ll voice an ostrich named Plimpton in Robert Downey Jr.’s The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle. Also in 2019, he’ll star alongside Dave Bautista in the action-comedy Stuber. Nanjiani has additionally lined up a dramatic role in director Pablo Larrain’s The True American, alongside Amy Adams and Mark Ruffalo.
Sony was developing a Men in Black/Jump Street crossover titled “MIB 23” as far back as 2014. Despite hiring James Bobin as director in 2016, with F. Gary Gray’s film heading into production and Phil Lord and Chris Miller moving onto other projects, it appears that this crossover is no longer being developed.
Men in Black invades theaters on June 14, 2019.