I’ve always been interested in the world of late night TV, from Johnny Carson & Joey Bishop (obviously way before my time) to the final years of Letterman and the Leno/O’Brien & Leno/Fallon escapades (I was on with Jay a couple of times in between). Currently, I’m watching episodes of the late Garry Shandling’s 90s HBO comedy “The Larry Sanders Show”. And “The Simpsons”‘ recent parody of the current state of late night TV called “The Late Late Late Show with Jimmy Jimmy”, including a segment the host said he did “once a year” called “Serious Question”, was a classic.
In August, the star of “The Office” and “The Mindy Project” (as well as the voice of Disgust in “Inside Out”), Mindy Kaling, revealed she finished writing her first screenplay. At the time, she told E! News, “I always thought the first thing I’d do [for the big screen] was a romantic comedy and what I realized was we write that so much on [The Mindy Project] that I kind of decided that, you know what, I’m going to save that stuff for the show and this is about something completely different.”
Less than two months later, the concept was announced, with Emma Thompson set to star as a long-running late night talk show host who hires her first female writer in the midst of her show potentially getting cancelled. That writer will be played by Kaling, who said in Aug. that “I have a small part in it”, though it seems like that’s an understatement.
A few days later, following a studio bidding war, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights. It’s no surprise that Fox will distribute the film, since it’s being called “‘Broadcast News’ meets ‘The Devil Wears Prada'” (the studio distributed both of those films). With that pitch line, the marketing plan is in place.
Paul Feig is reportedly Fox’s top choice to direct, though nothing’s been confirmed. Feig is known for his R-rated, adult comedies (“Bridesmaids”, “The Heat”, “Spy”) and this summer’s toned-down (in comparison), PG-13 “Ghostbusters”. It would be nice if this movie doesn’t go the hard-R, language and sexual innuendo-filled direction. Good scripts/stories don’t need that (as proven by “Broadcast News”, “Prada” and dozens of others). The writing of the Thompson character is the key, because you know it will be well-acted.
As for a title, there isn’t one yet. Kaling’s reason why perfectly sums-up her plucky, likable personality: “I don’t have a name for it. I’m bad at naming things — that’s why my show is called The Mindy Project.”