‘Ms. Marvel’: Iman Vellani, Matt Lintz, and Rish Shah on the Kamala-Bruno-Kamran Triangle
"I think team Kamran, but— aw, man, I'll say team Kamran because a lot of people are team— I'm team Bruno, too. I'm both. God, I'm torn. See?”
When it comes to matters of the heart, Kamala Khan doesn’t necessarily realize she’s got two boys vying for her attention in Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel.
On one hand, she’s got Bruno Carrelli, played by Matt Lintz, her long-time best friend, and so-called “guy in the chair.” As it’s established throughout the series, Bruno is not only an honorary member of the Khan family himself, but he’d do anything to help Kamala out when she needs it. When Bruno’s got a big decision he needs to talk about? He goes to Kamala, and vice versa.
“Bruno, he's so lovable,” Star Iman Vellani tells Marvel.com. “Everyone needs a Bruno in their life, and he's such a good friend, and seeing him be a part of her family I think is a really great entry point for a lot of people, being introduced into this new culture that they haven't really seen it in mainstream media before.”
But then there’s Kamran, played by Rish Shah. He’s the new dreamy boy in school and quickly becomes swoon-worthy considering he and Kamala share the same family background — and he’s got powers too??
“We really wanted to milk that out in the show and just show the corniness of high school and the awkwardness and make the audience feel the butterflies in her stomach when the hot guy walks out of the pool,” Vellani continues. “I remember when we were casting Kamran, they had me reading with so many random attractive brown dudes trying to do this part. Then Rish came on, and he had this British accent, and he was so cute, and he had this great chemistry with me. The producers called me after those chemistry reads and were like, so who did you like? And I'm like, the British guy! Cast the British guy! I don't care. Make the character British! Do what you have to do! Cast him!”
So if you’re thinking it’s an easy choice for Kamala to make on-screen, it’s definitely not. Even Vellani isn’t sure who might be the best “team” for her character.
”I'm torn because when I read the comics I'm in love with Bruno. I love him so much,” she continues. “But I also love Rish and Matt in real life. They're so good and doing scenes with them is so easy.”
This is just another way Ms. Marvel sucks viewers into the high school drama of it all, with Vellani adding that during these formative years, “all your emotions and your crushes are so heightened, and you feel things so intensely.”
To make matters more difficult, while Brian— er, Bruno and Kamran start off on the wrong foot, by the end of the series they have a newfound appreciation for one another. This was a welcomed change of pace for both stars Lintz and Shah, who are incredibly close friends off-screen.
“He's like a big brother to me,” Lintz says of Shah. “To be able to share scenes with him, it's been great. But especially the dynamic we had early on in the season…it's funny because Kamran can't even sense it because he's the cool, calm guy… He's the pretty boy in a sense. He has no fear in the world. Obviously, Bruno sees Kamala falling for this guy and it's a little bit weird for him. He doesn't want their friendship to end or anything like that.”
As for Shah, he echoes that same sentiment and thoroughly enjoyed sharing scenes with Lintz.
“Working with Matt is my favorite thing on the planet,” He explains. “He's one of my best friends. I think I broke pretty much every time we were in a scene together. He definitely brought a lot of energy and kept me in it. But I think what's really cool is that as that dynamic shifts because obviously Kamran comes in and throws a spanner in the works between Bruno and Kamala's relationship.”
This isn’t intentional, and as Shah mentions “Kamran's coming from a really genuine place himself.” However, it doesn’t necessarily come across to Bruno that way, but eventually “he's fortunate to develop that friendship with Bruno, because, yeah, Kamran protects him, but Bruno also protects Kamran.”
All this comes to a head when in Episode 5, with nowhere else to go, Kamran turns to Bruno for help. When Kamran first shows up at Circle Q, Lintz calls it “one of my favorite scenes that I show the whole season.”
“Getting to work with Rish, it was really fun to create that awkwardness between them and just to play that scene. I really think it's where they start to bond. They both realize you know what? Hey, you're not that bad at all. Bruno starts seeing Kamran for who he really is, which is this genuine kid.”
So while the two quickly learn to rely on each other, all of that is tested come Episode 6. As the group tries to keep Damage Control from taking both Kamran and Kamala into custody, the duo end up hiding out together in an empty classroom. Fearing that they’re about to be discovered, the two lean in for a kiss — and it’s interrupted by Bruno who is nothing short of stunned to see what’s happening in front of him.
“When Bruno walks in on that, he's not mad,” Lintz reflects. “It obviously hurts him. There might be that crush that he has on her. But more or less as he sees it happening and he's like, you know what? This is OK. This is what she wants. I think deep down all Bruno wants is the best for her. He cares for her so deeply. You see that early on in the season when he's taking the gloves and going to AvengerCon. He makes the mask for her. I think it's just the point of acceptance and putting his jealousy aside and his own desires away. And I know — it was heartbreaking, though. But that's my take on it.”
Shah also feels for Bruno in this scenario, but his choices solidify that he cares for Kamala so much that he knows he’s got to do whatever it takes to make sure she’s okay. “It was a really sweet moment. I think that, obviously, it's heartbreaking for Bruno. And the fact that he walks in on that and still makes the sacrifice that he does just goes to show how much love he has for Kamran and Kamala, of course, how giving he is.”
So in the end, excluding the fact that Kamran literally flees the country and Bruno travels 3,000 miles away for a science program, who might be the best teenage match for Kamala?
Vellani has thought a lot about this and still, she’s at a loss. “I have no idea. I think team Kamran, but— aw, man, I'll say team Kamran because a lot of people are team— I'm team Bruno, too. I'm both. God, I'm torn. See?”
At least she’s in good company, as the boys don’t have a pick either. “Matt and I have kind of joked from the get-go that he's Team Kamran and I'm Team Bruno,” Shah adds. “So I don't know. I think it's a fair split. I can understand why people are divided. I mean, they both bring such different energies. But they both come from a really pure place, I think. So whoever the fans root for in that romantic sense, I'm happy with. It’s just really cool to be a part of it.”
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