Rick Bentley

Hollywood Notebook: Mindy Kaling gets emotional; ‘Ant-Man’director hits it big

Mindy Kaling arrives at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills.
Mindy Kaling arrives at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Things weren’t looking too good for Mindy Kaling after FOX executives had decided not continue her series, “The Mindy Project.” But the series has been picked up by Hulu and will live to see another day. It’s really a lot of days since Hulu ordered 26 episodes.

In the meantime, her film “Inside Out” opened and has become a monster hit. It’s the third highest grossing picture in Pixar history behind “Toy Story 3” and “Finding Nemo.”

The film looks at the inner workings of a youngster’s mind. Kaling provides the voice for Disgust, one of the five emotions that are personified in the film. Kaling’s not green like the animated character but does share qualities with her.

“The character Disgust has a lot of qualities of a very impatient, judgmental adolescent girl and because I seem to be recurring in playing that role over and over again in my career – she just says the things I say on a really bad day – the thing I really wanna say but then don’t say it,” Kaling says. “Basically, in my mind the parenthetical role or her lines is ‘I can’t, I can’t deal with this.’ It’s just like what she’s always thinking.”

Kaling might be thinking that, but she has shown she can handle a lot of different challenges. Not only has she been starring in “The Mindy Project,” Kaling also has been the executive producer and writer. Before launching her own show, Kaling was on of the stars of “The Office” along with being a writer and co-executive producer for the NBC comedy.

That’s why Kaling is such an admirer of her fellow “Inside Out” voice talent co-star, Amy Poehler.

“She has six full-time jobs but I love is that she wants to give young girls a voice and I think it’s great. The hardest thing about when you start creating your own material and you’re a woman, it’s like all the people that I love the most they’re incredibly busy with their own thing,” Kaling says.

Big challenege

Peyton Reed is the latest director to face a challenge bigger than Dr. Doom and the Green Goblin combined. Reed was charged with making “Ant-Man,” the next Marvel movie, and making sure it didn’t let down the franchise that has already made billions of dollars.

He had to make a successful superhero movie despite only having directed light comedies in feature films such as “Yes Man,” “Bring It On” and “The Break-Up.” The three episodes of “New Girl” he helmed would be no help.

“There’s a high bar with these Marvel movies, and one of the things that I really discovered working with Marvel, which I loved, was they have a creative hunger and they don’t don’t want to repeat themselves,” Reed says. “They encourage these movies to be really idiosyncratic.

“One of the things I love about ‘Ant-Man’ is that it’s a pretty weird movie in a great way. I mean, it was allowed to be weird, and that was fantastic. So you know, there was a high bar there. So it kind of energizes everybody.”

The weirdness comes from taking on a superhero whose great power is the ability to shrink to the size of an ant. That’s not as impressive as a massive green guy being able to toss around tanks or a blond god swinging a mighty hammer.

It was the perspective Ant-Man brought to the film that helped Reed find the hook he needed.

“It was fun because it’s a heist movie at its core. Here’s the guys doing this and this and this. Here are the ants that are doing this, here are the ants that are doing that,” Reed says. “I guarantee that’s something that you’ve never seen in a movie before.

“People talk about the shrinking when they talk about Ant-Man, but it’s the other power, the being able to control ants, that’s the weirder power, that I think is going to really surprise people in the movie.”

Reed took the ant part very seriously. His research showed him there are thousands of different kinds of ants. He decided to focus on a handful that had skills that would best help Ant-Man.

He completed his approach to the movie by layering in stories about fathers and daughters.

“I think is it’s these dual stories about these two fathers and their daughters, and in various different ways they are not a part of their daughters’ lives, and they have to by the end of the movie repair those relationships. I liked sort of the intimacy of that thematic in the movie,” Reed says.

Other news

▪ Casting: Judy Greer (“Married”) will join the third season of Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” for one episode. Greer plays Alice Logan, the wife of Dan Logan (Josh Charles), the perfume magnate who approaches Masters and Johnson about bottling the smell of sex.

▪ Getting caught up: The “Heroes Reborn” App offers access to all six-episodes of the prequel, “Dark Matters,” with additional content from “Heroes Reborn” rolling-out throughout the summer. Heroes Reborn” launches at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24.

▪ Mark your calendars: announced that the highly anticipated fifth season of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning hit drama series “Homeland” will premiere 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, followed by the second season premiere of the Golden Globe-winning drama “The Affair.”