America is bitterly divided on immigration. But the creator of an original Apple TV series, announced at the Steve Jobs Theatre today, wants his anthology to help heal that divide.
Rather than tales of exceptional talent and achievement, Little America tells the everyday stories of immigrants navigating the American dream.
The creator is writer and stand-up comedian Kumail Nanjiani whose very own American dream hit a sweet spot in 2017 with the movie The Big Sick.
Nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, Nanjiani stars in his own life story as a struggling comedian originally from Pakistan who meets a grad student named Emily. Her near-fatal health crisis becomes part of a dramatic courtship. His wife and writing partner, Emily V. Gordon, is a co-creator for Little America.
Nanjiani wants viewers to see immigrates not as “the other,” but as “us.”
“We wanted to focus on everyday stuff,” he said. “These are human stories that feature immigrants. When you see their struggles, they will stop being ‘the other.” You will see yourself. Ultimately, we are all looking for the same thing – food, home, meaning, and love.”
Nanjiana shared details from one episode, about a boy from India whose parents brought the family to Utah to run a motel. When the boy was 12, his parents were deported and he found himself running the motel as he tried to come up with ways to reunite with his parents.
The boy enters the National Spelling Bee in hopes of meeting then-First Lady Laura Bush, whom he hopes can help him bring his parents back to Utah.
He placed 13th in the Bee and met Bush.
Nanjiani wouldn’t give away the ending. The series starts this fall.