One of the year’s biggest independent successes, The Big Sick opened Amazon Studios’ session at Deadline’s 7th annual The Contenders awards-season event at the DGA Theater. In front of a packed house of Academy and key guild voters, the film’s star and one of its true-life subjects, Kumail Nanjiani, joined his wife and co-writer Emily V. Gordon to discuss the genesis of the film and how they worked together to bring the story of their own unique relationship to the screen.

Deadline

As they explain it, Nanjiani went into a pitch meeting with Judd Apatow and tried to sell an idea about a Ghost Witch movie to him. When that didn’t work, he told him the unusual tale of how he got together with Gordon, who was actually in a coma during a key point in their relationship. Apatow bit, and the pair wrote it together (although Gordon doesn’t star as herself).

Since she was in a coma much of the time that was to be covered in their screenplay, Gordon said she actually did research talking with Nanjiani and her parents to find out exactly what did go on during that period. Both say they think they complement each other nicely as writers and want to team again.

Check out our conversation above.