Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Mindy Kaling confirmed during tonight’s PaleyFest 2013 panel in Beverly Hills that she will be spending her hiatus down time between seasons writing a new book. It’ll be the second book for the former regular on The Office and current creator/exec producer/star of her freshman Fox comedy The Mindy Project, which earned an early second season renewal on Monday despite tepid ratings. During the PaleyFest event for Mindy Project, Kaling revealed that the untitled book would find her looking at “the high highs and low lows of the past 18 months” and would come out “in like a year and a half.” Her first book, titled Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), was published in November 2011. And she said early in the evening that she will be returning to shoot The Office series finale. “It’s really exciting,” she offered. “I’ve just read the pages, and it’s a really amazing episode of television.”
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Fans also learned tonight that actress Chloe Sevigny will be appearing in a three-episode guest arc later this season portraying a travel photographer who is the ex-wife of Chris Messina’s character Danny Castellano. “She’s got a huge hold on Danny and broke his heart,” Kaling explained. And when asked which actor would top her wish list of guest stars to land, she named Eastbound And Down star Danny McBride. She’d like to cast him as a giant, foul-mouthed, disgusting gay man. But that will need to wait until Season 2, if at all.
That was more or less it in terms of news nuggets during an amiable, somewhat low-key discussion dominated by Kaling and writer-costar Ike Barinholtz (who plays Morgan Tookers). They were joined by Messina, exec producer Matt Warburton and castmates Ed Weeks (Jeremy Reed), Zoe Jarman (Betsy Putch) and Beth Grant (Beverly Janoszewski), who was recently promoted on Mindy Project from recurring to regular.
As is her character Mindy Lahiri on the sitcom, Kaling was her adorably effervescent and neurotic self during the panel, still coming across as the ensemble player who can’t quite believe she’s got this job. She admitted it was hard to leave The Office after eight years and had some issues adapting to being the one in charge and wearing so many hats. “The best thing about doing this show is, the stories I couldn’t push through on The Office I can push through here,” Kaling said. But at the same time, she shared that the learning curve has sometimes been steep. She credited exec producer Howard Klein with teaching her how to just be. “He showed me how to be a leader, that I don’t need to scream constantly and that people will listen to me when I’m the boss”. And she still wakes up every morning and is somewhat amazed to find she’s “the star of my own show and still like chubby and stuff and wondering how this happened.” It also amazes Kaling that she’s an Indian-American role model, wishing that it were “75 years in the future” so she wouldn’t need to be the only high-profile Indian-American doing comedy.
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Warburton admits he hasn’t had time to give a lot of thought to what a second season of The Mindy Project will look like. “But now that it’s been made real,” he stressed, “we can start to think seriously about where we go from here.” Kaling gave a hint to where things may be headed when she acknowledged that, at 33, she’s starting to think about “having kids and getting married and stuff. I’d like to see that reflected in the show.”