How to Be Unstoppable: Inside the Creative Mind of Mindy Kaling
Earlier this year, in her well-received Super Bowl ad for Nationwide, Mindy Kaling thought she might be invisible. Hardly. As one of Hollywood’s major creative forces, she’s never been more prolific.
The actress and writer—and cover star of Adweek’s Creative 100—voices the character Disgust in Inside Out, Disney/Pixar’s summer blockbuster that is already the year’s fourth highest grossing film, raking in $300 million and counting. Her critically acclaimed TV comedy The Mindy Project, which she created, writes and stars in, was snapped up by Hulu in May, shortly after Fox passed on it. It will return for Season 4 in September, right around the Sept. 15 release of her second book, Why Not Me? Besides Nationwide, the alum of NBC’s The Office also starred in a high-profile American Express campaign this year that celebrated her status as an “unlikely leading lady.”
Before diving into production on Season 4, Kaling talked with Adweek about the creative challenges of juggling so many projects and the family tragedy that drives her.
Adweek: When Fox didn’t pick up The Mindy Project, were you certain you’d find another home?
Kaling: I have always been an optimist. I refuse to create things under the assumption of failure. So I thought that the best thing for the story creatively was to end last season on a cliffhanger, and it’s a fun way to get people back. I knew in my heart for some foolhardy reason that we would be somewhere—and I ended up being right.
Will the show change at all on Hulu?
We want to keep the tone the same. But creatively, the episodes can be a little bit longer, which is good because we have such a funny cast and we can give more screen time to their characters.
Contemporary Costumes from ‘Mindy Project,’ ‘Gotham’ Feted by FIDM, TV Academy
The breadth of costumes displayed from 24 popular television shows at the Television Academy and FIDM’s ninth annual “Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design” exhibition launch on Saturday seemed to visibly depict exactly why a crucial change to the 2015 Emmy costume categories — grouping work by period rather than show format — was implemented.
“There were always two categories; we just shifted from genre to costume type,” said the Television Academy’s Costume Design & Supervision Peer Group governor Sue Bub of the new groupings, which will recognize outstanding costumes in “period/fantasy” and “contemporary” categories, rather than under “series” and “miniseries/movie” umbrellas. Instituted so as to give contemporary shows “a more balanced opportunity and playing field” in an arena populated by a growing number of period pieces, Bub was happily able to decree, “There will be at least one contemporary show that will win an Emmy this year.”
That show could possibly now be the “The Mindy Project,” whose boldly patterned plaid suits, jackets and dresses brought pops of color to the exhibit, and whose costume designer Salvador Perez had never before been nominated — despite his soon-to-be four seasons with the show. “I wouldn’t be here today if they hadn’t opened up the categories,” said Perez, who received the news from Mindy Kaling herself after he couldn’t download the announcement. “Mindy doesn’t call, she texts,” he recalled. “And so she called, and I thought it was a don’t worry about it/next year kind of a phone call. And she’s screaming, and I’m like oh… ohmigod! The fact that Mindy called to congratulate me was the most special part of this.”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Guest Starring as Love Interest on ‘Mindy Project’
“The Mindy Project” may be breaking new ground on Hulu, but its tradition of casting the starriest of guest stars continues.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt will guest on the season four premiere of the show, which makes its Hulu debut later this year.
The premiere episode will be inspired by the 1998 Gwyneth Paltrow rom-com “Sliding Doors,” according to Buzzfeed. Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) is no longer with longtime boyfriend and co-worker Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) in the new alternate universe, but married to Levitt’s character, a Bravo reality TV producer. The character brings their connection full circle as Kaling and Messina recently guest-starred in the season two premiere of Levitt’s Pivot series “HitRecord on TV.”
Trailer for “Sisters” Featuring Ike Barinholtz
The Actress Who Plays Riley In ‘Inside Out’ On What Mindy Kaling Is Really Like & Keeping Big Ol’ Pixar Secrets
Like most teenagers, Kaitlyn Dias loves Pixar movies, worships Amy Poehler, and worries about getting approval from her friends and her mom. Unlike her peers, though, Dias’ days are spent a little differently — the 16-year-old stars in Pixar’s newest release, Inside Out, alongside Poehler (not to mention Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith…), and spent the years leading up to the film’s release hiding the most exciting part of her life from those closest to her.
“I was able to to tell people that I was working on a Pixar movie, but, other than that, nothing,” Dias says, talking to Bustle. “But my friends, they were all really excited and they still are! They’ve been really supportive.”
No wonder: Inside Out, about the emotions staked out in an 11-year-old girl’s mind, is nothing less than a phenomenon, winning raves —and even Oscar talk — from critics while also demolishing box office records; since its release in mid-June, the movie has raked in an astounding $435 million worldwide, and won the spot for the biggest opening weekend for any original movie, animated or otherwise. The success is due in large part to the incredible work of its voice cast, from Poehler’s Joy to Kaling’s Disgust to, of course, Dias’ Riley, the preteen at the center of the film.
First Look: Chris Messina, Abigail Spencer in Suicide Dramedy ‘The Sweet Life’
Mockingbird Pictures has released exclusively to Variety the first photo of the romantic dramedy “The Sweet Life,” starring Chris Messina and Abigail Spencer.
Rob Spera directed from Jared Rappaport’s script, in which a couple meets in Chicago and makes a pact to drive to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to commit suicide. Tyson Ritter (“Parenthood”) and Maggie Siff (“Sons of Anarchy”) also star.
Producers are Julie Lynn and Bonnie Curtis of Mockingbird Pictures.
There has been a decades-long effort to install a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. Steel nets will be put below the bridge over the next few years.
“We were unaware of the suicide barrier and the future construction of the nets when we first began to prepare our film,” Curtis said. “We are now deeply aware and applaud the heroic efforts of the men and women who fight daily to save lives at the bridge.”
Spencer said she believes this film “will start a conversation that will bring hope to a hopeless place.”
“I think my character Lolita represents in her singular way something that is going on culturally and internally in many young women today who are dealing with the choice of suicide,” she said.
The filmmakers plan a future association with the Bridge Authority, as well as the local San Francisco Suicide Prevention Association and the Bridge Rail Foundation. “The Sweet Life” will have the hotline numbers for the organizations in its end credits, and the filmmakers plan to have a special benefit screening in San Francisco after playing the festival circuit early next year.
Mindy Kaling makes W’s list of ‘ones to watch’
Mindy Kaling is glammed up in the August issue of W magazine. She’s featured in the issue’s list of “ones to watch” on television. Kaling tells W, of the main character on her show, “The Mindy Project,” “She’s one of the worst-behaved female leads in the history of television — and that’s something I’m proud of.” Other actors on W’s list include Gillian Anderson, Ashley Benson of “Pretty Little Liars,” and Jussie Smollett of “Empire.”
‘Inside Out': Mindy Kaling reveals which emotions control her headquarters
Pixar’s latest film, “Inside Out,” has many questioning which emotions are at the helm of their mind headquarters. They’re not alone; Mindy Kaling grappled with the same question.
In the movie, Joy (Amy Poehler) is arguably the captain of 11-year old Riley’s emotional console with Fear (Bill Hader), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Kaling) as her co-pilots.
While “Inside Out” focuses primarily on what’s going on inside Riley’s head, there are occasions where it bounces to the emotional headquarters of other characters in the film, like her mom and dad. In their adult years they have different emotions sitting in the pilot seat, which begs the question — which emotions are calling the shots in our own heads?
“I would say that I am largely ruled by Joy and Fear. Those would be the two that are jockeying to have the controls,” Kaling tells Zap2it.
In fact, Kaling admits that it’s Poehler and Hader’s renditions of the characters that now make up her inner monologue.
Mindy Kaling on Seth Meyers
« Previous Entries
Inside Out’s Bill Hader & Mindy Kaling Share Fears & Disgusts