Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling on ‘Late Night’ and How They First Met

     June 13, 2019

I absolutely loved Late Night. Loaded with great performances, a super funny script, and a story that deals with a tremendous amount of current day issues (white privilege, misogyny, diversity) without ever feeling preachy, it’s the kind of movie that I hope breaks out and is seen by millions of people.

late-night-posterIf you aren’t familiar with the film, Late Night premiered to great reviews at the Sundance Film Festival and was immediately bought by Amazon Studios. Written by Mindy Kaling and directed by Nisha Ganatra, the film stars Emma Thompson as a veteran late night talk-show host that hasn’t kept up with the changing television landscape. When the new head of the network (Amy Ryan) threatens to take her show away due to declining ratings, Thompson decides to make some changes and brings in her first female staff writer (Mindy Kaling). While Thompson’s character is hesitant to change her ways, she eventually warms to Kaling’s character and realizes she’s going to have to fight to stay relevant and on the air. Late Night also stars John Lithgow, Ike Barinholtz, Hugh Dancy, and Denis O’Hare. For more on the film read Matt Goldberg’s review.

When I sat down with Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling at the press day for the film, they talked about how the film tackles so many things going on today without it ever being preachy, the challenges of filming the movie in twenty-five days, what they learned from early screenings, and shared a great story about their first meeting. In addition, Kaling talked about how The Office is more popular than before thanks to streaming, Thompson teases Last Christmas, and Kaling talks about her version of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

late-night-mindy-kaling-emma-thompson

Image via Amazon Studios

Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis.

Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling:

  • What was their first meeting like and if they were nervous to meet each other?
  • How did they work together on the screenplay?
  • How the film tackles so many things going on today without it ever being preachy.
  • How did they pull off filming this movie in 25 days?
  • How did the film change in the editing room and what did they learn from early screenings?
  • Has Mindy Kaling noticed The Office getting even more popular since it started streaming?
  • Emma Thompson teases Last Christmas and Mindy Kaling talks about her version of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Here’s the official synopsis for Late Night:

After almost 30 years, a groundbreaking talk-show host suspects she may soon be losing her coveted seaton late-night television unless she manages a game-changing transformation in Late Night, the first feature film from Emmy-nominated writer and producer Mindy Kaling. Legendary talk-show host Katherine Newberry (Oscar winner Emma Thompson) is a pioneer in her field. The only woman ever to have a long-running program on late night, she keeps her writers’ room on a short leash ― and all male. But when her ratings plummet and she is accused of being a “woman who hates women,” Katherine puts gender equality on her to-do list and impulsively hires Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling), a chemical plant efficiency expert from suburban Pennsylvania, as the first and only female on her writing staff. With rumors swirling that Katherine is being replaced by a younger, hipper male host, she demands that the writers make her funny and relevant again. A lifelong fan, Molly is determined to prove she’s not just a diversity hire, but the one person who can turn her idol’s career around. Going against everything Katherine has staked her reputation on, she urges her to make the show more contemporary, authentic and personal, a move that could make Molly’s career ― or send her back to the chemical plant for good.

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