“Should I not look? I’m so narcissistic,” Mindy Kaling asked Ava DuVernay as they stood in front of the monitor inside Santa Clarita Studios.
“This is the first time Mindy is seeing herself in this scene,” Ava tells us.
Mindy is dressed in one of her six Mrs. Who costumes. “They’re amazing. It’s the first time I’ve ever been on anything where the illustration is identical… usually they get a little fanciful when they’re drawing it and then you’re like, obviously they’re not gonna be able to accomplish all of that.”
When Mindy got the call from Ava telling her that Ava saw her as Mrs. Who, Mindy was surprised.
“I was incredibly flattered. I asked myself, ‘What was it about me that she would see for this role?’ I think she just thought there was something about my energy. For that reason, I feel especially lucky,” she said. “Most things I’m cast in I kinda get it, like when I do a Seth Rogen movie, I get why he’ll put me in the movie and this one, I didn’t. It’s exciting.”
Are you enjoying playing this character?
I love playing this character. She’s the most mysterious character I’ve ever played. And if you’ve talked to me for 10 seconds, I’m the least mysterious person. It’s very nice to play a character that talks a little bit like fortune cookies. She’s very enigmatic and I’ve never been that in my whole life.
Was “A Wrinkle In Time” a book you enjoyed as a kid?
I did. The book is about a real outsider and I felt like when I was reading it that I was also an outsider so I’m excited to be a part of it.
Do you enjoy working with Oprah and Reese?
There’s a difference between being an actress for hire and someone who is a real multi-hyphenate and the two of them, over the course of their careers, have developed a real voice in addition to their acting which is something I really like.
What do you think is the film’s message?
They asked Ava, Oprah, me and Reese this question and I was surprised by how different our answers were. I think this movie is pretty timeless. It’s easy to read into things that have a diverse cast and a have all-female leads in this political climate, but to me it’s really about being an outsider, not feeling like you belong and then taking a literal wrinkle in time to realize your self-worth.
And it’s also just a killer adventure story. The action is fantastic. I wore a harness for the first three weeks that I was shooting. I was flying through the air and Zach Galifianakis was having pillars toppled on him.
Is is the most diverse movie you’ve ever worked on?
What’s the impact of it being so diverse? How does it change the set?
Ava said something really interesting in an interview. She was talking about the difference between calling it diverse and calling it inclusive. She likes to call things inclusive rather than diverse. At first I thought it was just semantics. But it isn’t. Inclusive just means representing what the world actually looks like. And the fact that not just our cast, but our crew is incredibly diverse is amazing and, as a show runner, makes me want to do a better job on my own show.
Our cast has a lot of employers and we’re like, we need to step it up and really be inspired by what she’s been doing. And I’m an Indian woman and I think I can do better.