Interview with Mindy Kaling of "The Mindy Project" on FOX - Primetime Article From The TV MegaSite

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By Krista

Interview with Mindy Kaling of "The Mindy Project" on FOX 3/28/13

Final Transcript
FBC PUBLICITY: The Mindy Project Conference Call
March 28, 2013/10:15 a.m. PDT

Angela Yang
Mindy Kaling


Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to The Mindy Project conference call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer session. Instructions will be given at that time. (Operatorís Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to your host Angela Yang. Please go ahead.

A. Yang: Thank you. Hi, everyone, and welcome to The Mindy Project conference call with series star, creator and executive producer Mindy Kaling. Just a quick update, there will be two all-new episodes of The Mindy Project airing next week. The first episode entitled, ďMy Cool Christian BoyfriendĒ will now air on Tuesday, April 2 at 9:30/8:30 CDT and the second episode entitled ďPretty ManĒ will now air on a special night on Thursday, April 4 at 9:30/8:30 CDT after American Idol and New Girl.

So without further delay, Greg, we will now open lines for questions.

Moderator: Okay. Our first question comes from Jamie Steinberg from Starry Constellation.

J. Steinberg: Hi, itís such a pleasure to speak with you.

M. Kaling: Hey, Jamie, howís it going?

J. Steinberg: Great. Honor to speak to my girl crush.

M. Kaling: I love it. I saw that you tweeted on me and I was very excited to talk to you.

J. Steinberg: Well thank you so much for your time. Just wondering, you have such a great dynamic with all of the cast on the show, but you have a cuter dynamic sometimes with your brother Rishi. Is that based on your real experiences of your family?

M. Kaling: Well, I have an older brother who is very different than the character Rishi on the show, but I just love Utkarsh who plays the character. I have a very like, we immediately slipped into like a very big sister/little brother relationship with him and I like how his characterÖhe just always calls me ďwoman.Ē Heís like, ďWoman, what are you doing?Ē which I find very funny and appealing.

J. Steinberg: And it was great seeing Seth Rogan on not long ago. He was wonderful chemistry with you, too. Can you talk about some of the upcoming relationships youíll have? We heard ďMy Christian BoyfriendĒ is coming up.

M. Kaling: Yes, well the great thing with Seth was that maybe because he was also a ..performer, because we had like a real ease with each other, which I loved, and Iíve known him since I did ď40 Year Old VirginĒ, Iíve known for a long time, but heís just so, he just has, heís so natural, which is wonderful. And this ďMy Christian Boyfriend,Ē the next big boyfriend or after Öwas on the show workaholicÖ Seth, and he is doing kind of a big arc playing this really funny character, like this minister that has like a lot of swagger. Itís almost like itís a minister with a party promoter in Vegas kind of, and he has like celebrity friends and mobies in the episode. So thatís on Tuesday we meet him and I just see him and Iím like have this, like the raciest relationship yet. So itís a very funny dynamic to have that with a Christian minister.

ÖisÖĒWorkaholicsĒ, which is a show that probably theyíre in different demographics for our show. Itís a show my writers all really loved and I love a lot. Itís really clever. The cast is amazing on that show. Honors is a writer/performer, which I love. I mean, heís so much fun to hang around with onset and we fight a lot in a way thatís like really fun, and we have a great time.

J. Steinberg: Well, I have to tell you, when you were first geeking out over Homeland, I was like I will send you the DVDís.

M. Kaling: Itís hard to get those DVDís.

J. Steinberg: Yes, Iím sure you have, but what are some of the other great shows you that follow?

M. Kaling: The shows that I follow? Homeland is wonderful. Iím really looking forward to the last season of Breaking Bad. Thrones, Iím dying for it to start. Iím waiting for Sunday for that to start up again.

I reallyÖ.cinematic shows. I think when you come into comedy, youíre attracted to things that are kind of the opposite. So I like Ö and yeah, comedy wise, I love Workaholics, I love Ö, I love Saturday Night Live since, like the ones that I donít miss.

J. Steinberg: Well hopefully youíll get to host someday soon.

M. Kaling: I would be too nervous.

J. Steinberg: Thank you.

Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Lori Rackel from The Chicago Sun Times.

L. Rackel: Hi, Mindy. Thank you for talking to us. I wanted to ask about Ike Barinholtz and if you can talk a little bit about what he brings to the show and a little bit about his evolution. I believe he started as a writer and youíve increasingly bumped up his role. So could you talk a little bit about him?

M. Kaling: I like to really attracted to Ike coming on to the show because he is a writer/performer in a way that I was used to, like B. J. Novak and Paul Lieberstein on the Office. I like being on set with other writers and actors. I think it makes the whole process more fun and more efficient. Heís also a great improviser. So I had seen him on Eastbound & Down and in that he was playing a Russian pitcher and a total jock. In this show heís playing a very different kind of character, like an earnest nurse who is an ex-con. But heís kind of like, he comes out of a defacto onset producer Öall the time and weíve had to write jokes in between takes and do little rewrites for the Ö.

His dynamic with me is huge. Heís now become one of my closest friends and heís just a wonderful guy who loves working, he loves working and understanding the show with like a female lead, as he loves women and heís like such a feminist. So heís been great.

Moderator: Your next question comes from Henley Woodman from Boston Herald.

H. Woodman: Hi, Mindy. Two questions. One, when will you be back in the Boston area? And also an Office question. What part will Kelly play in the finale?

M. Kaling: Sure. Iím hoping to come, we have a hiatus for the next two months. Iím hoping to stop by Boston for family in May; Iím going to do like an East Coast trip there. Actually, I was just there for a brief time like about a month ago, and that was pretty awesome. And yeah, itís going to be one of the prettiest times of the year, I think. Iíd love to come back then.

And, letís see, Kelly in the finale, I shot for a day the finale and I canít say too much about it except that it is a nice unexpected reunion with Ryan, with, thereís a very satisfying and dramatic ending for the two of them.

Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Greg Archer from Huffington Post.

G. Archer: Hi, Mindy. Congratulations on everything.

M. Kaling: Thank you.

G. Archer: Iím curious, since you write, since you do comedy, since people dig you for comedy and writing and since Entertainment Weekly voted you one of the ten funniest women in comedy, Iím curious, growing up or as you were sort of forming your creativity and where to put it, who inspired you in the comedy realm and the writing realm?

M. Kaling: You know, when I was little, my parents used to listen to like a lot of Nichols & May. Öand things. And so before I even knew what they looked like, Elaine May and Mike Nichols were big inspirations to me. Later that kind of like conversational, writerly way of being, as a performer writer, is something I have always thought was awesome. John Cleese and Fawlty Towers I always really admired. And even in my 20ís, sometimes you donít think of people who are your own age as inspiration, but like Seth Rogan has been so, heís such a good writer and heís such a great performer, and he doesnít look like your typical kind of leading man and heís just so charming and everyone gets such a big crush on him and I think heís been very inspiring.

And now, I mean, this isnít strictly a crush on like Iíd get very tired by like people nearer to me, like Simon Ö and Ö., two fantastic writers and just really, and is just a wonderful performer.

G. Archer: What do you love most about writing comedy?

M. Kaling: I love that it is, the experience of writing comedy is like itís very similar to the experience of enjoying comedy, which is when you have a thought that is funny, itís like it makes you laugh when you think it up, so itís like watching a very funny movie with long boring in betweenís when youíre not thinking up funny stuff. But itís one of the only jobs where the outcome is the same as the process of making it. So thatís a great thought, thatís a great part of the job.

Moderator: Your next question comes from Julie Friedman from Lucky Magazine.

J. Friedman: Hi, Mindy. I have two questions for you. The first is, how much of what you wear on the show is what you would wear in your own everyday life? And the second is, how involved are you with picking your wardrobe on the show?

M. Kaling: These are questions I love. Thank you for asking me that. I could talk about my wardrobe for five hours if you need me to. No one would necessarily care, but I love it.

I am very involved with the look of the show and Iím lucky because I have a very collaborative designer, Al Perez, who is awesome. He pays such attention to fit and tailoring. I donít think Iíve had a single item of clothing, whether itís from a store in the mall or itís like Gucci that has not been tailored within an inch of my life, heís so in to making it fit me exactly, which I love.

ÖI think is a little, her taste, thereís a huge overlap in a lot of things we wear. I think sheís a little bit more colorful, preppy and girlie than I am, although I love girlie stuff now and again. Whereas the character might wear much more like layered prints over other prints and be a little bit offbeat, me, personally, Mindy Kaling, I used to live in pretty much like Helmut and Club Monaco and flat stuff, what I wear every day. So my wardrobe is a little bit more subdued.

Although me, personally, I wear a lot more like hardware. I love more like rock and roll, I guess, costume jewelry and accessories. And leather, I wear more leather jackets and things than my character does.

Moderator: Your next question comes from Joel David from Ö

J. David: I have two questions. The first is, you do a lot for The Mindy Project and youíre kind of still shocked that youíve achieved such great success. How do you handle all of the attention that youíre getting from The Mindy Project? And then the second question is, you obviously get to input a lot of your own life on the show. Is there anything that you were kind of hesitant to write into the show?

M. Kaling: Well in terms of handling the success, first of all, thank you for saying that Ö Iím not, itís not that hard for me, because in general if people recognize me, they donít necessarily think Iím a show, they think they went to school with me or high school with me. Iím not the kind of person that people want to snap paparazzi photos of because I live a pretty like boring kind of life. That said, also, because Iím writing and acting on the show, I work so much that Iím not really super affected by the show. Now that Iím on hiatus, it will be more fun to see people and how theyíre responding to it.

And as far as what I decide not to put in the show, itís easy to be an open book when you have a fairly boring personal life. So for me, Iíve had like three boyfriends in my entire life. For me itís not that hard to be open about that.

I really try hard to Öwith my dad and my brother, and the show isnít really about her relationships with her dad and brother like all the time. So for me that would be something that I would want to keep private, but nothing else, really, because Iím single so I donít have a boyfriend whoís like, ďOh, donít put that in the show.Ē

Moderator: Your next question comes from Christina Lynch from High

C. Lynch: Hi, Mindy. Iím a really big fan. This weeksí episode showed the return of Kemper, and I know you just wrapped production on Season One, but are there any plans to bring her back for Season Two?

M. Kaling: I would like nothing better than to work with Ellie Kemper for the rest of my life. I love her. Sheís so fun to work with. Sheís so naturally funny. Guys love her and girls want to be her friend; that would be a dream.

Ellie, of course, she has a pilot Ö and sheís so busy with various projects and things, that I donít know how possible that would be, but there is just a complete open-door policy for whenever she wanted to show up to do anything on the show. I love her. Sheís one of my closest friends and it would be great to use her as much as we can.

C. Lynch: And I know you said Öoutside you were starting to write more books. Do you have any more plans about that?

M. Kaling: We wrapped, we really wrapped yesterday, so today I have been like after I hang up Iím just going to go look at my computer and stare at an empty page. But even with the show Iíve been jotting down things that I donít necessarily sit andÖessay ideas and things like that. So Iíve been thinking about it kind of in the margins of when Iíve not been working on this. But Iím really ÖhiatusÖ

Moderator: Your next question is from Robbie Coach from

R. Coach: Hi, Mindy. Youíre really great and I love you. I was wondering, you are one of the first minority women to be writing and directing and starring in a show on a major TV network, and I was wondering if thatís something that adds pressure to your everyday work routine or is it something that you think about that often?

M. Kaling: Itís something that I think is more interesting to other people than it is to me, only because Iíve only ever lived in my skin and donít know what itís like to be anything else. So for me, I forget sometimes, like my trappings of what I look like all the time. But obviously like everyday something reminds me of it.

Because of all the different pressures of my job since, you know, Öand things, starting the show and everything else, I try not to think about it because you think itís pretty interesting and I think that I could get too caught up in that or start to be self-conscious if I let is color how I view things. Iíve had like, Iíve been rewarded by that line of thinking and Iím just going to keep doing that.

I will say, it is very, very nice when young women, especially women of color or Indian, say that Iím an inspiration or that they never thought that they could do that. That is really, that makes me feel really good and I can, if that is, if you look to me as a symbol of that, then thatís fantastic.

Moderator: Your final question comes from Amanda Carter from Stars Entertainment.

A. Carter: Hi, Mindy. Iím a huge fan of you and the show. So my question is, thereís some weird sexual tension between Dr. Lahiri and Dr. Castellano. Will we ever see that get played out? And is it kind of dangerous or tricky to have that type of relationship between two main characters?

M. Kaling: Well, Iím kind of sure that Danny and Mindy have, when I watch it, itís very fun and unexpected, but because the characters are so different from each other, I donít think either characters have ever dated anyone like that in their personal lives. And I donít know, every week we have fun new guest stars and everything, and I like thinking of the two of them and those terms, and thatís really fun for our writers to think of that, but any guest star could come or any new cast member could come on the show and chaseÖcompletely.

I think about on The Office, Ed Helms even a character until Season Three, and then he was such a major force of the show. So when I think of the show as a series and the life of the series, I think what if somebody new comes in for Danny, some really funny, great character for him to fall in love with? Or what if some new, like that comes for the Mindy character. You know? So I think itís one of the things that people talk to me about, so I donít want to ignore it and at the same time I just want to see what else is out there since Östill so young.

And of course, like Iíve imagined what it was like cute to kiss Chris, you knowÖ

A. Carter: Another quick question. Thereís a picture behind Dr. Lahiriís desk thatís of Liv Lemon and I think itís Jason Sudekisí character from 30 Rock. Was that given to you by Tina Fey?

M. Kaling: Yes, when 30 Rock wrapped this season, Tina sent the framed photo of Lloyd and Liz to put on our set as like kind of a well wishes, like just as a gesture. Sheís such an amazing inspiration for me and Iím just so, I love her so much personally and professionally sheís amazing, and I just thought Iím going to put it behind my desk in the show. And I guess in the world of the show, Mindy Lahiri like knew Liv Lemon or Liv Lemon was her patient or something like that. But there is like a backstory, like a deep, deep backstory that connects them that she thought she was her perfect patient.

I like love it. I think itís so fun. Did you see it on the show? I didnít know people had actually seen it.

A. Carter: I saw it on Tumblr, actually. Somebody clicked of Tina Fey saying that she sent it to you and then they showed it in the show.

M. Kaling: Wow, thatís great. Iíve got to look at that up. It was my fantasy that Liv Lemon was one of her favorite patients.

A. Carter: Okay. If I find it, Iíll tweet it to you.

M. Kaling: Please do. Thank you so much.

Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, this conference will be available for replay after noon Pacific time today through April 3.  That does conclude your conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive Teleconference. You may now disconnect.

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