Is ‘Late Night’ the First Movie Mindy Kaling Wrote and Produced?

By now, most film and TV fans are familiar with Mindy Kaling. If you don’t know her for the recurring role of Kelly Kapoor on The Office (2005-13), you likely have caught her in films or her own The Mindy Project.

On both TV shows, Kaling was a major force behind the scenes. She logged over 200 producer credits and wrote 47 episodes of the projects. If you’ve been a fan of Kaling’s and had to bet, you’d probably wager it was only a matter of time before she devoted all these talents to a feature film.

At the 2019 Sundance festival, Kaling brought that first movie (titled Late Night) for audiences to see. After Amazon bought its distribution rights for the U.S., moviegoers can rest assured they will be able to see the film in theaters later this year.

The 1st feature written and produced by Kaling, who co-stars

Mindy Kaling and Nisha Ganatra attend the “Late Night” Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2019 in Park City, Utah. | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

On Late Night, Kaling has sole screenwriter credit, so this film is definitely a product of her creation. (She shares producer credit with three others.) Fans of Kaling’s screen presence won’t be disappointed, either.

She co-stars in the film as Molly Patel, who becomes a “diversity hire” on the all-male writing team of late-night talk-show host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson). As Newbury struggles to maintain and audience (and her job), she adds Patel to her team to clean up her image.

But Kaling’s character refuses to sit in the back of the writer’s room. She takes the lead in Newbury’s fight to revamp her sagging career (and life) prospects. The interaction between the two takes precedence in the film directed by Nisha Ganatra, a producer and director on Transparent.

Looking at Kaling’s time at The Office, it’s safe to say she brought some real-life experience to the script. The only three writers with more credits on that project were Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Greg Daniels. (Caroline Williams, who was active in the first years of the show, trailed Kaling by a few credits.)

Kaling also adapting ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ for TV

Emma Thompson appears in ‘Late Night’ by Nisha Ganatra, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. | Emily Aragones/Sundance Institute

Fans of the Hugh Grant-Andie MacDowell film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) should also keep Kaling on their radar in the coming year. She’s adapted the rom-com classic for TV and already began shooting the series in London.

While MacDowell will appear in 12 episodes, it’s a mostly different cast, though the ’94 film’s screenwriter (Richard Curtis) will be an executive producer. Kaling has the only writing credits listed and will serve as an exec producer on the show, which could premiere on Hulu as early as 2019.

Before then, fans of Kaling, Thompson, John Lithgow, Reid Scott (Veep), and Amy Ryan can see Late Night in the theaters. It should arrive by summer before heading to Amazon Prime for streaming.

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