Welcome to Chippendales: Disney+ release date, trailer, and cast with Kumail Nanjiani - is it a true story?

Kumail Nanjiani, Murray Bartlett, and Juliette Lewis star in Welcome to Chippendales, arriving on Disney+ in the UK this January

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Welcome to Chippendales, a new true crime drama starring Kumail Nanjiani, is arriving on Disney+ in the UK on Wednesday 11 January.

The series, which also stars Murray Bartlett and Juliette Lewis, charts the breakdown in the relationship between the founders of the stripping empire Chippendales – a breakdown that eventually saw one murder the other.

Here’s everything you need to know about Welcome to Chippendales.

What’s it about?

The official Disney+ synopsis for Welcome to Chippendales describes the series as “a sprawling true-crime saga” that “tells the outrageous story of Somen ‘Steve’ Banerjee, an Indian immigrant who became the unlikely founder of the world’s greatest male-stripping empire—and let nothing stand in his way in the process.”

Desperate to become the next Hugh Henfer, Banerjee established a bar that hosted male stripping nights for female customers. It became hugely popular – popularity that Banerjee was determined to maintain, committing secret acts of arson to put competitors out of business, and eventually hiring a hitman to kill the Chippendales co-founder when their business relationship broke down.

Is it a true story?

Yes, it is! Welcome to Chippendales is a true story, adapted from K. Scot Macdonald and Patrick MontesDeOca’s non-fiction book Deadly Dance: The Chippendales Murders.

Who stars in Welcome to Chippendales?

Kumail Nanjiani as Somen ‘Steve’ Bannerjee in Welcome to Chippendales (Credit: Disney+)Kumail Nanjiani as Somen ‘Steve’ Bannerjee in Welcome to Chippendales (Credit: Disney+)
Kumail Nanjiani as Somen ‘Steve’ Bannerjee in Welcome to Chippendales (Credit: Disney+)

Kumail Nanjiani plays Somen "Steve" Banerjee, the founder of Chippendales. Nanjiani is an actor and comedian, perhaps still best known for his breakout role in the HBO comedy Silicon Valley, but you’ll probably also recognise him from recent film roles in The Big Sick and Marvel’s The Eternals.

Murray Bartlett plays Nick De Noia, the artistic director of Chippendales. In recent years, Bartlett has received particular acclaim for his starring role in the first series of The White Lotus, though you might also recognise him from appearances in Physical, Looking, and Tales of the City. He can next be seen in HBO horror The Last of Us.

Juliette Lewis plays Denise, a frequent Chippendales customer. Lewis is a former child star, who began her career in films like My Stepmother’s An Alien and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; she went on to star in films like Cape Fear, August: Osage Country, and Ma. Lewis can currently be seen in the survival drama Yellowjackets.

They’re joined by Annaleigh Ashford (Impeachment: American Crime Story) as Irene, Dan Stevens (Legion) as Paul Snider, Andrew Rannells (Invisible) as Bradford Barton, and Robin de Jesús (In the Heights) as Ray Colon amongst others.

Who writes and directs the series?

Matt Shakman – best known for his work on WandaVision, soon to be helming the latest Fantastic Four reboot – was lead director on Welcome to Chippendales. Gwyneth Horder-Payton (American Horror Story), Nisha Ganatra (Transparent), and Richard Shepard (Ugly Betty) also directed a number of episodes.

Robert Siegel, the creator and wirter of Pam & Tommy, is showrunning Welcome to Chippendales. He’s joined by Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), Jenni Konner (Girls), Annie Julia Wyman, and Jacqui Rivera.

Is there a trailer?

Yes, there is! You can watch it right here, and get your first glimpse of Kumail Nanjiani’s transformation into Somen Banerjee right here.

When and how can I watch it?

Welcome to Chippendales will arrive as a boxset on Disney+ UK on Wednesday 11 January. You can sign up for Disney+ right here.

In the US, the series is available on Hulu (which is a subsidiary of the wider Disney corporation, if you were wondering).

How many episodes are there?

There are eight episodes of Welcome to Chippendales, each of which are between half an hour and fifty minutes long.

Why should I watch it?

It’s one to watch if you’re a fan of true-crime drama – this is the big, splashy offering for the month. It might be of particular interest if you enjoyed Pam & Tommy last year, with this series having been developed by some of the same creative team and tackling some broadly similar themes.

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