Townsville Bulletin - - PLAY - GRETA STONEHOUSE

Nan­jiani and Emily Gor­don’s courtship may have been swift and filled with drama, but turn­ing their tale into the hit rom­com The Big Sick was a labour of love that took sev­eral years.

The film is set in the early stages of the cou­ple’s re­la­tion­ship in 2007, when Gor­don was struck with a rare ill­ness and put into a med­i­cally in­duced coma for 12 days in a Chicago hos­pi­tal.

Her rel­a­tively new boyfriend, Pak­istani­born Nan­jiani, was then forced to nav­i­gate the med­i­cal sys­tem and their cul­tural dif­fer­ences all the while get­ting to know her par­ents, played in the film by Ray Ro­mano and Holly Hunter.

Gor­don pulled through the oper­a­tion and coma and mar­ried Nan­jiani, an IT worker turned stand- up co­me­dian, a few months later.

The film fo­cuses on the cross- cul­tural bar­ri­ers Nan­jiani and Gor­don, who is played by Zoe Kazan, faced while their love for each other blos­somed, in­clud­ing his fam­ily’s tra­di­tion of ar­ranged mar­riages.

Their tale piqued the in­ter­est of pro­duc­erex­traor­di­naire Judd Apa­tow in 2012, when Nan­jiani told the brains be­hind 40- Year- Old Vir­gin, Train­wreck and TV se­ries Girls about how he and Gor­don came to marry. Soon af­ter, the wheels were in mo­tion to trans­form their story into a rom­com. The cou­ple, who cowrote the movie, say Apa­tow was a strict task master who or­dered hun­dreds of rewrites.

“He just rewrites a lot. Ev­ery­thing is writ­ten and rewrit­ten,” says Nan­jiani, who stars as him­self in the movie. Gor­don says, “To re­live some of the hard­est parts of your life and then get notes on them, that’s never fun.”

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