The Mindy Project (FOX): The Origins Of Mindy And What’s Up Next

Fans of Fox’s freshman hit The Mindy Project have reason to rejoice because the show has been picked up for a second season. To talk about how the show came together and where it’s going, Executive Producer Matt Warburton, and cast members Mindy Kaling, Chris Messina, Ed Weeks, Zoe Jarman, Ike Barinholtz, and Beth Grant joined their fans at PaleyFest 2013.

How the show came together. Kaling wanted to do a show in an office environment because it was familiar for her. She decided that Mindy would be an OB/GYN because Kaling’s mother was one. She also liked the idea that Mindy’s job would let her interact with women.

Kaling was behind the decision to bring in Barinholtz and Messina. Barinholtz explained that he began as a writer on the show, but Kaling convinced him to join the cast and she wrote the character Morgan for him. She had been impressed after seeing him on Eastbound and Down, where he played a Russian baseball pitcher. Barinholtz couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. He gushed about working with Mindy, “She makes me laugh, more than anyone.” ”Whatever she talks about, she sucks you into her world and you don’t want to leave.” He said there’s never a dull moment.

As for Messina, who is better known for his film roles, including in the Oscar® winning Argo, he wasn’t convinced he was funny enough to be on the show. But, Kaling had no doubts he’d be able to carry off comedy.

The character of Dr. Reed was originally intended to be American, and Kaling joked that the character was based on David Hyde Pierce. Weeks reminded her that the script called for a “Bradley Cooper type,” much to Kaling’s embarrassment. Fortunately, Weeks’s American accent was not so great and his roommate suggested he do the audition with his real British accent. So now, Dr. Reed is less David Hyde Pierce and more Pierce Brosnan.

While she may currently have her dream cast, Kaling still longs for Danny McBride to guest star as Mindy’s brawler gay friend.

Beverly Janoszewski is back and here to stay. After an uncertain start, Grant is now a series regular. The writers struggled with how to keep her character in the show after she punched Mindy in the face and broke her nose in the beginning of the season. She was just too interesting a character to let her go. Grant giddily recounted that she just learned that her character’s had several ex-boyfriends of many different religions. As for what type of man she’d like them to bring in for her, “I’m always open to a younger man. Just saying.”

Kaling doesn’t get a lot of sleep. When asked how she keeps up with writing, producing and acting on the show, Kaling admitted that she doesn’t get a lot of sleep. But, she is completely ok with that. “When you are literally living your life’s dream you don’t want to be sleeping. You want to be awake,” Kaling said. Each morning she wakes up and thinks, “Oh, I’m like the star of my own show, and I’m still like chubby and stuff. How did this happen?” This extreme work ethic is recognized and appreciated by her peers. Messina expressed his respect for Kaling and all that she does: “She’s tireless.” Her energy also means that during the break in filming, Kaling won’t be sitting around playing videogames. Kaling is writing another book that will be published in a year and a half.

Will Betsy and Mindy be BFFs one day? Jarman doesn’t think so. That doesn’t mean that Betsy won’t be an important part of Mindy’s life. “There’s a brightness about Zoe,” Kalin explained, “[a] naiveté about her that is so funny, and so appealing.” Jarman believes that Betsy decided long ago that Mindy was glamorous and great, and from then on wanted to be friends with her. Kaling explained this creates a fun dynamic between the characters. That’s not to say there aren’t still awkward moments. Jarman described that she feels like her character often gets an inch too close to Mindy’s face.

There may be a Betsy/Morgan love connection. It hasn’t been ruled out. There’s a very good chance that two awkwards may come together to become a power couple. As to a Mindy/Danny love connection, Messina explained that part of the fun of the show is the “will they, won’t they” tension between the characters. It sounds like fans hoping for the two to get together may have to wait a while.

What we’ll see before the end of the season. Chloe Sevigny is guest-starring as Danny’s ex-wife, Christina. Messina explained, “She has a huge hold on Danny, and obviously broke his heart.” In the scene where Christina comes to visit Danny, Danny is so flustered, that he starts sweating, mumbling, and can’t look her in the eye. This is the exact opposite of the typically cool, calm, collected Danny. Barinholtz mused that there are certain people that have a chemical effect on you, and for Danny, that person is Christina.

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(Photo Credit: Kevin Parry for Paley Center for Media)