Kumail Nanjiani & Emily V. Gordon on How The Rock Is Part of the ‘Little America’-verse

     February 14, 2020

Listen: Ya gotta watch Little America. Streaming on Apple TV+ now, it’s an anthology series telling self-contained half-hour stories based on the real experiences of immigrants to America. I gushed about it in an official review, but I’m just gonna reiterate here: Watch it! Every episode boasts stylishly rendered, beautiful, funny, and humane stories from a new collection of writers, directors, and actors — all spearheaded in part by the dream team (and married couple) of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon.


Image via Apple TV+

You know Nanjiani from Silicon Valley and the upcoming MCU entry The Eternals. You know Gordon from Crashing and an upcoming Sarah Hyland-starring show. And you know the two together from the smash indie film The Big Sick. We chatted about how The Big Sick influenced their approach on Little America. Plus, I wanted to know if there were any details left on the cutting room floor in these tight, half-hour episodes. And, of course, we talked about whether Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a member of their show’s universe, and I awkwardly asked for a job, and I’m still surprised I didn’t get fired for doing that.

Check out what Nanjiani and Gordon had to say in the player above, and below is a list of everything we talked about.

  • What was the first Little America story you read that sparked your imagination?
  • Is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson part of the Little America-verse — and can I be an EP on his story? (The answer will not surprise you)
  • How did working on The Big Sick — your own story — influence telling someone else’s story?
  • little-america-eshan-inamdar-priyanka-boseHow the real people affected the episodes during production.
  • How did you condense these stories to half-hour episodes? What details did you have to lose?
  • The importance of hiring people from similar identities to the focuses of the episodes — and listening to them.
  • What does the show say about America?

Here’s the official synopsis for Little America:

Inspired by the true stories featured in Epic Magazine, “Little America” will go beyond the headlines to look at the funny, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring and surprising stories of immigrants in America, when they’re more relevant now than ever.

“Little America” is written and executive produced by Lee Eisenberg, who serves as showrunner, and Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. Alan Yang executive produces through Universal Television. The series is also executive produced by Sian Heder, and Joshuah Bearman, Joshua Davis and Arthur Spector executive produce for Epic Magazine. Heder also serves as co-showrunner alongside Eisenberg.