Matt Dunham / AP
According to Mindy Kaling, there is something fun in the late-night TV watching these shows, "there is such a joy of living"- but it goes against the" cruelty and cruelty "that make the show behind the scenes." I was obsessed with how all these people could work so hard and be so competitive to create such a fun and light product, "says Kaling.
Kaling explores this dichotomy – and the racism, ageism and sexism of television – in his new film Late at night. Emma Thompson plays the role of talk show host Katherine Newbury, a once very popular comic that has pierced the glass ceiling of a late night comedy, and then climb to the next. ladder behind her and install in an extensible and predictable show powered by a white, male writers.
Then Molly Patel, played by Kaling, is hired – on a whim, as a selection of diversity – and begins to shake things up.
Kaling wrote the role thinking of Thompson. "Emma is my favorite living actor," says Kaling. "I have loved her since I was 11 and I saw her A lot of noise for nothing. "
Thompson – a self-proclaimed "Luddite" – does not watch much television and is not very familiar with Kaling's work. Feeling a little "irrelevant", she was concerned that Kaling might have imagined a role for her as an "elderly archaeologist in Dorset".
She did not have any.
Thompson read the script and said, "Forty-eight hours later, I called my agent and told him:" Please, tell him I could not to be more delighted and that I will start tomorrow. "
Kaling and Thompson spoke with NPR about the "macho" world of darkness, the perception of powerful women and the connotation of the term "renting diversity".
Highlights of the interview
On the writing of the role of a female hostess late at night
Kaling: I was so eager to write about Late Night because I'm one of those comedy nerds obsessed with her childhood. I have read all the books about it. I was intern at Late at night with Conan O & # 39; Brien before I go into the world of half an hour to work Office. But this environment is very famous – even among screenwriters – because it's hyper-masculine, hyper-competitive, very ruthless. And I was not really interested in writing a movie with a young, older white man, which we see in many of these series.
I've always wanted to write something for Emma Thompson. … For me, you know, a lot of actors can play dramatic roles and we award them rewards, but few of them can be funny and make drama. … Emma can do both and she has become very famous in the theater field, but she comes from comedy, she comes from the skit. …
I've said that I knew it was science fiction to be able to host a women's talk show late at night – and even more to be able to hold this position for 30 years – but that's not all. was the only thing for which I have the sense of writing.
Play a female boss who evolves
Thompson: I think that there is something a little macho in the night slot machine – a bit of the 1970s, Saturday Night Live, John Belushi announces that "women are not funny" and that it is a difficult old world for a woman. [My character] Katherine is the person who has managed to survive … but she is also smart enough to recognize that she has to change and that she has to listen. …
What is wonderful in this story is that often, when you have a female leader in a movie, she does not change. She is just the evil mother-in-law, the devilish boss, the cold, arrogant and archetypal person. But what Mindy did is create a real person – a living, breathing person – who at first has a hard time actually accepting the fact that she is not as successful as she is. thought so.
She suddenly realizes that she has shown sufficiency and because she is really determined to be excellent, she decides to change. And it takes time, but finally, the character of Mindy reaches him. They create a working relationship that is so fun to watch grow and does not end up becoming soft and fluffy in the end. It just becomes something very real, very credible and very edifying.
On female authority being perceived as "cold"
Kaling: Katherine's character does not care about people's reactions to her honest answers and desires. If she sees a kind of inefficiency, she expresses it without anger. And it's interesting – we did the press for the movie and everyone used words like "bitch" and "cold", and it's not that she's slutty and cold she simply expresses what she needs. …
Thompson: Especially if you're pathologically sympathetic or want to be nice to everyone – like me – playing Katherine was kind of a five-week break without taking care of everyone. It was so happy to turn to someone who was annoying me and say, "That does not interest me, shut up." And then do not apologize for the rest of the week about it. ….
Kaling: A man has the right to have a private life. … When I wrote it, I did not particularly think that Emma was cold. I thought the character was sharp, direct and direct. And these are so positive qualities for male leaders. But in a woman, they put some people away. People are so uncomfortable with the possibility that a woman is direct in her communication.
On what the movie about diversity and hiring says
Kaling: We talk a lot about the fact that Molly is a rookie for diversity and I can not think of another movie or TV show that really talks about that front with that term. The truth is that the term has really pejorative connotations. I was a hiring of diversity to Office when I started writing, and that's why I got this job – because NBC was paying my salary for that Office could hire me without having to take a hit on their budget. …
For years, I've been so embarrassed by this and I've never wanted anyone to know it, although, of course, it was clear like the day. It was only years later that I realized that I should proudly wear this program and diversity because it allowed me to work for a show that I would not have seen otherwise.
Eliza Dennis and Elizabeth Baker produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Andee Tagle and Beth Novey adapted it to the Web.