8:00am PT by Kate Stanhope
Mindy Kaling on Saying Goodbye to 'The Mindy Project' and What's Next
Mindy Kaling isn't emotional (yet) about the end of The Mindy Project because she doesn't have time to be.
The creator, writer, executive producer and star of the Hulu comedy is already hard at work in the writer's room on her next series, the NBC midseason comedy Champions, while she's working on a movie she wrote and will star in while she's doing press for The Mindy Project finale.
"To me, this is a way of dealing with any kind of separation anxiety I would have from the show," the Emmy winner, who's also eight months pregnant, tells The Hollywood Reporter with a laugh. "Making television is really good in terms of distracting yourself from something you really love so it hasn't been all that traumatizing."
If anything, Kaling says, "this is probably going to hit me years from now."
The end of The Mindy Project comes as Kaling prepares for a busy 2018 that includes Champions, on which she will also recur, as well as two of her biggest film roles to date, in Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time adaptation for Disney, and the female-led Ocean's Eight also starring Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Rihanna. And then there's also the movie Kaling is currently working on, an untitled film she will star in opposite Emma Thompson about a late-night TV host (Thompson) and her head writer (Kaling).
"The great thing about right now in television and film is you don't really have to choose. That wasn't even the case seven or 10 years ago," she says, pointing to her Wrinkle in Time co-star and recent Mindy Project guest star Reese Witherspoon. "For me, especially since I'm eight months pregnant now, it's really a gift to be able to bounce back and forth from having creative control of something to being cast in something and letting someone else take control. That's one of the nice parts of my career right now is I'm afforded that opportunity so I'd like to keep doing both as long as I can."
Although it's unclear when, or if, she'll star in another TV series, Kaling is active on the development side. She's exec producing several projects, including two comedies in development at NBC from Mindy Project writers Lang Fisher and Matt Warburton. She's also working with Warburton on an anthology TV adaptation of the beloved 1994 romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral for Hulu.
"It's just a completely different assignment. It's longer, it can be much more cinematic," she says. "Right now, it feels like the good thing about these short-order television shows for streaming platforms and cable is that you don't need to tie yourself down to doing one thing for 11 months a year. You can bounce back and forth with a few different projects so you feel creatively fulfilled by doing a few different things."
However, The Office veteran who spent eight seasons on the NBC mockumentary as a writer, actress and eventual executive producer, doesn't rule out future projects on broadcast, as evidenced by Champions.
"Sitcoms have an enormous following and the values you have in a sitcom are liked by millions," she says. "There's a reason why millions and millions of people love the sitcom format and watch it every week. For me, it just depends on what I want to be focusing on."
Kaling puts it best when discussing her career, saying, "I hope to be creating television shows as long as I'm alive."
However, it's also clear that The Mindy Project, Kaling's first creation, will also hold a special place for the multi-hyphenate as she moves onto other projects.
"The character is so fun to play and she's every actress' dream because she is so poorly behaved but has flashes of having a conscience," Kaling explains. "She's so many different things at once, which you don't really get to play as an actor. You certainly don't see those kinds of parts. She's extremely funny, very selfish at times, a good mom with lots of challenges and also lots of big flaws. It is the best role I've ever gotten and I feel so lucky."