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Born: February 21, 1978
Born: February 21, 1978
Birthplace: Karachi, Pakistan
Born: September 9, 1983
Los Angeles, California, USA
Emily V. Gordon
Birthplace: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Born: December 21, 1957
Queens, New York City, New York, USA
Born: March 20, 1958
Conyers, Georgia, USA
Born: March 7, 1955
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
Born: September 18, 1980
Birthplace: Karachi, Pakistan
Yes. The Big Sick true story reveals that comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani (HBO's Silicon Valley) portrays himself in the movie. It tells the story of the first year of his courtship with his wife Emily V. Gordon, who co-wrote the movie with him.
"Our first date was at a restaurant right by my house," said Kumail.
"Kumail had asked me out and I said no," recalled Emily, "and then I texted him a couple days later and asked if we could just get a platonic dinner together, but it was a date. We both knew it was a date." -USA Today
No. In fact-checking The Big Sick movie, we learned that Kumail never actually worked as an Uber driver like his character does in the movie. Watch the film here. -Bustle.com
Yes. In the movie, Kumail and Emily make a rule that they can see each other no more than two days in a row. When asked about it in an interview with Tribute Magazine, Kumail responded, "That is true. I don't know how she put up with it."
"It feels like the most made up thing [in the movie]," said the real Emily, "and it is absolutely true and somehow I put up with it."
Not exactly. In researching The Big Sick true story, we learned that Emily was still in the middle of her divorce when she met Kumail in 2006 and they started dating. She was 27 and Kumail 28. "I was recently separated and was in the waiting period to get divorced," says Emily. "I was trying to decide whether to stick it out in Chicago or go back home. Then Kumail and I met." -BostonGlobe.com
Yes. "It's sort of based on the first year of our relationship," said Kumail in a Hollywood Reporter interview. "This is true. When Emily and I were dating for a few months she got really sick, and it's sort of about that period in time." Emily's illness occurred in March of 2007 when she was 27 years old, roughly ten years prior to the movie's release.
No. Unlike what's seen in the movie, the real Big Sick couple had not broken up before the real-life Emily went into her coma. They were still dating, but there was little thought of it turning into a lifelong relationship. Like in the film, the coma changed that. With regard to the movie's use of dramatic license in adding the break-up, the real Emily Gordon commented, "It's interesting to be at your casual girlfriend's side when she gets sick. But it's even more interesting to be at your recent ex-girlfriend's side." -Variety.com
In 2007, Emily got a cold she couldn't shake. She largely ignored it, but found herself feeling exhausted and miserable. Eventually she started having trouble breathing and drove herself to a walk-in clinic. When she got back to the exam room they took her vitals and immediately fetched the doctor. She was in respiratory distress. An ambulance was called and the EMTs suggested they take her to the closest hospital due to the urgency of her condition. After arriving at the hospital, she still believed everyone was overreacting. She called Kumail and told him where she was but not to worry (in the movie, Emily's friend calls Kumail to let him know Emily is in the hospital). -LennyLetter.com
The following day Emily was put into a medically induced coma to prevent her from dying while the doctors had time to figure out what was wrong with her. She underwent lung surgery and ended up remaining in the hospital for almost a month. On day eight of her coma, she was diagnosed with adult-onset Still's disease (AOSD), a rare systemic auto-inflammatory disease that presents with high fevers, severe fatigue, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, a salmon-pink rash, and in severe cases like Emily's, fluid accumulation in the lungs and heart. It can be managed once diagnosed and is first treated with steroids like prednisone.
"I have to sleep the right amount and exercise the right amount," says Emily, "and I still occasionally get flare-ups and have to stay in bed for a few days. But no more ICUs, which is pretty f***ing sweet." -NewYorker.com
No. The Big Sick is not based on a book. It is from an original screenplay by the movie's subjects, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. However, Gordon is a published author and a former couples and family therapist. She wrote the tongue-in-cheek self-help book Super You: Release Your Inner Superhero, published in 2015. The well-reviewed book is infused with humor and references to comics, video games and superheroes, just some of the things she often discussed on her podcast The Indoor Kids, which she hosted with her husband. She has also written for Hello Giggles, Huffington Post, The New York Times, Mashable, The Daily Beast, and Lenny.
"Her parents came into town, and I didn't really know them," Kumail said in a Hollywood Reporter interview. "So [the movie] is sort of a romantic comedy of me and Emily, and then the middle part of the movie is a romantic comedy between me and her parents." In real life, Kumail did briefly meet Emily's parents once before she fell ill. -The Hollywood Reporter
No. During an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Kumail Nanjiani said that Emily's father never asked him what his feelings were on 9/11.
No. One of actress Holly Hunter's best moments in the movie is when her character defends Kumail against a racist frat-boy heckler at his comedy show. It marks the moment that we first visibly see her dislike for Kumail begin to change. It unfolds into an intense scene but we found no evidence of it actually happening in real life.
Yes. It was while Emily was in a medically-induced coma that Kumail realized she was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Though it's not shown in the movie, they married just months after she got out of the hospital.
Yes. The movie's portrayal of this seems to be pretty accurate, though slightly exaggerated. Kumail had previously promised them he would enter into an arranged marriage with a Pakistani woman. He avoided their calls for the first few days that Emily was in a coma, because he knew he would have to tell them he had a non-Muslim girlfriend. When he did finally take their call one night, he told them the truth and his mother actually became concerned for Emily, asking daily how she was doing (something the character doesn't do in the movie). However, when Emily came out of the coma and they found out she would be okay, Kumail's mother finally responded, "How could you do this to us?" -NewYorker.com
No. Emily admits her parents are quite different than the characters portrayed by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. Kumail's real-life parents are perhaps more similar to his movie parents, especially in that they did expect him to enter into an arranged marriage. However, they were living in a different city than they do in The Big Sick movie (watch the trailer). -Variety.com
Yes. In the movie, one of the potential women Kumail's parents try to set him up with awkwardly reminds him that "the truth is out there," a reference to The X-Files TV show. While fact-checking The Big Sick movie, we discovered that Kumail's love for The X-Files goes much further than what is seen in the film. In 2014, he started hosting The X-Files Files, a podcast in which he and a guest analyze an episode of the show. Then in 2015 he got to guest star on an episode of The X-Files 6-part revival on FOX. Kumail tweeted, "I got to be in an ep of my favorite show (X Files) written & directed by my favorite writer (Darin Morgan.) And this script is wonderful." Kumail played an Animal Control Officer in episode 3, titled "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster."
Yes. The Big Sick true story confirms that the real Emily Gordon was miserable when she came out of the coma, despite those around her feeling very happy she was awake. "Yeah, a lot of the hospital people had invented a personality for me that did not match how I felt when I woke up," says Emily. "Because I had, like, fun hair, and I just was mean, and scary, and very upset, and angry and would cry a lot, for like a while. And people were like, 'Oh, we thought you were gonna be fun.' And I was like, 'I used to be.'" According to her now-husband Kumail, she needed time to deal with the fact that she had been betrayed by her own body. "It took me a few months to remember to be fun again," says Emily. -ScreenAnarchy.com
"I became so fearless that I married my boyfriend in a manic haze three months after getting out of the hospital," says Emily (LennyLetter.com). Kumail and Emily married on July 14, 2007 at City Hall in Chicago, with six friends present as witnesses. They got matching tattoos because they didn't have money for wedding rings (Variety.com). Kumail had proposed to her with a $20 ring from Walmart. Emily first met Kumail's parents after the city hall nuptials (The View). Two weeks later, Kumail's parents held a Pakistani wedding for them in New Jersey. "I think that the ceremony was my mom's way of saying to Emily, even though you're not the bride I imagined, I'm trying my best to include you in the family." Kumail said. His mom gave Emily a collection of jewelry that she had been saving for Kumail's future wife. Emily and Kumail have been together ever since (NewYorker.com).
No. Kumail and Emily were already married when they decided to move to Brooklyn so that Kumail could pursue standup as more than just a hobby. The movie has Kumail first moving there with two comedian friends instead of Emily. -LennyLetter.com
"No, not at all," said Emily, "because my husband is an actor and has been on many TV shows and movies, whereas I was the president of the thespian society in high school, but since then I've kind of hung up my acting shoes. ... So never at any point. I'm very happy to be a writer and kind of tell stories that way." In addition to being one of the movie's screenwriters along with her husband, Emily was on set every day of the New York shoot, as seen below. -Fabulous TV
The videos below offer a closer look at The Big Sick true story, including interviews with the real couple, screenwriters Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon.