Kumail Nanjiani and Annaleigh Ashford talk Welcome to Chippendales (Interview)

Welcome to Chippendales on Hulu Interview with Kumail Nanjiani and Annaleigh Ashford for Hidden Remote.
Welcome to Chippendales on Hulu Interview with Kumail Nanjiani and Annaleigh Ashford for Hidden Remote. /

TV lovers are always searching for new shows to watch, and one we definitely recommend checking out is Welcome to Chippendales! The Hulu series is a “sprawling true-crime saga” that premieres with the first two episodes on Tuesday, Nov. 22. And trust us, you don’t want to miss it. Those just as excited as us are actors Kumail Nanjiani and Annaleigh Ashford!

Hidden Remote had the opportunity to speak with both actors, who portray real-life people Somen “Steve” Banerjee and Irene, respectively. The two talk about building their characters, what their first meeting was like, and the connection between Steve and Irene. Read on below, and be sure to scroll down to the end to see the video interview!

Welcome to Chippendales
Welcome to Chippendales — “Four Geniuses” – Episode 102 — As Chippendales takes flight, Steve assembles his dream team—including a shy accountant who may be more than just a business hire. Irene (Annaleigh Ashford) and Steve (Kumail Nanjiani), shown. (Photo by: Erin Simkin/Hulu) /

* This interview has been edited for clarity

Kumail Nanjiani and Annaleigh Ashford talk Welcome to Chippendales

Playing real-life personalities

The limited series introduces us to Steve, a very motivated Indian immigrant looking to build himself in Los Angeles, Hulu shares. He becomes the unlikely founder of the most successful male-stripping group of the time – Chippendales. And he’s not going to let anything stand in the way of the success he’s found himself in.

The touring dance troupe was established in 1979 and became the first all-male stripping group to make a business out of performances for a mostly female audience. They are still popular today, touring worldwide with a permanent performance spot at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Nanjiani plays the ambitious entrepreneur, with Ashford taking on the role of his lovely onscreen wife.

Hidden Remote: Your roles are based on real people. So did you keep that in mind as you were building your characters?

Ashford: I had no research to go from because there’s nothing about this woman. We have one picture of her and that’s it. So the only thing I had to work off were the given circumstances of the situation, the real life events. And so it was real important to me to create a person who was really human and complicated and still lived in the world of the late 70s and 80s, which was a complicated time for women still. And I also wanted to make sure that the connection that she had with Kumail’s character, Steve, felt really authentic to the audience. Because if she loves him, then hopefully everybody loves him. That was important.

Nanjiani: I think you feel that. I think hopefully, if we’ve done our job right, seeing Steve through Irene’s eyes makes him more palatable because he does some bad things. For me it was the same, there’s not much footage of this guy. With Steve, he wasn’t good on camera so there’s not much of him on camera. And we have stuff of other people saying stuff about him, and then we have the stuff he did. So I really approached it like the character as written, knowing what he eventually does, and what he does in the beginning.

First table read felt “so easy”

Steve and Irene meet in the show’s second episode, “Four Geniuses.” The head of Chippendales encounters the accountant, who ends up giving the boss some pointers on how to save money when serving drinks and is hired on the spot. The actors described their first scene together as “so well written” and their first table read felt “so easy.”

HR: I loved the first meeting between Irene and Steve. What was your first meeting like?

Nanjiani: It was at a table read. It was just before we started shooting. Our director Matt Shakman, who’s amazing, got us all together in a room just to sit and read the first two episodes. It was so great. and I think immediately [when] we met and as soon as we did that first scene together, it just felt like it made sense. It felt like these were two weirdos who had really found each other.

Ashford: We also wanted to make sure that there was always an unspoken connection that these two people had. Their love language is numbers and math and business and accounting. And that’s a shared love, a shared interest, a shared passion.

Welcome to Chippendales premieres its eight-episode season Tuesday, Nov. 22 with the first two episodes on Hulu. One new episode will then be released weekly until the finale on Jan. 3, 2023.

Next. Welcome to Chippendales full cast list. dark