In her first feature-length screenplay, Mindy Kaling has cast Oscar-winner Emma Thompson as late-night talk show host Katherine Newbury who, with falling ratings and pressure from above, looks to an inexperienced young writer (Kaling) to freshen things up.
The film – directed by Nisha Ganatra – was snapped up by Amazon Studios at Sundance, with the highest-ever sale for a female-directed project in the festival’s history.
Here’s everything you need to know about Late Night.
The film scheduled to be released in the UK and US on 7th June 2019.
Who is in the cast of Late Night?
Emma Thompson (who also stars in BBC drama Years and Years) plays America’s first ever female late-night talk show host, Katherine Newbury, who in the present day is losing ratings and is out of touch with her viewers.
Mindy Kaling (Ocean’s 8, The Mindy Project) plays Molly, a chemical plant worker who harbours dreams of breaking into comedy, and who’s unexpectedly hired to help revitalise Newbury’s tired show format.
Kaling has previously described Thompson as “my favourite living actor”, and emailed her the script for Late Night after having her in mind as she wrote it.
“This character said so many unlikable things and did so many things that are so terrible, but Emma Thompson is the kind of person who can pull it off, and you’re still rooting for her,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “And not everyone can do that. And it was kind of a stupid thing because no one else could have played the part.”
Co-starring are John Lithgow (The Crown) as Katherine’s husband Walter Newbury, Hugh Dancy (Hannibal) as Charlie Fain, and Kaling’s former Mindy Project co-star Ike Barinholtz as Daniel Tennant.
What is Late Night about?
Katherine Newbury is a veteran late-night talk show host, but she and her team of all-male, all-white writers have grown complacent — and when she’s called out on her apparent inability to work with other women, Katherine quickly hires newcomer Molly in order to show willing.
Slow to change, a warning from her network that her onscreen days are numbered prompts Katherine to finally work together with Molly on shaking up the show’s format and her national persona, bringing in tongue-in-cheek ‘White Saviour’ segments and feminist quips.
Is there a trailer for Late Night?
There are three — check them out below:
Is Late Night based on Mindy Kaling’s real-life experience?
Kaling has said that she can identify with both of the lead female characters.
“I vividly remember my experience coming up in the industry with no connections, not having gone to Harvard, being the only diverse person in the room,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “But I also — even more vividly because I was living it when I wrote this — remember what it’s like to be in a power position where you’re the showrunner and the star of something. You’re impatient. You’re a little complacent, and you’re just kind of a demanding boss that worries a little bit that you’ve lost touch with people.”
Who is Mindy Kaling?
Kaling first made her name as a writer and star of the US adaptation of The Office which she worked on from 2005 to 2012, before leaving to create and star in her own hit TV series, The Mindy Project (which ran until 2017).