Mindy Kaling talks Mindy Project, Halloween, and Bill Hader

Oct 23, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. ET

She may have created the main character in her new Fox series, The Mindy Project, but Mindy Kaling tells us "Doctor Mindy" is much different than the real Mindy. Kaling shares her real-life quirks in our Q&A with the actress.

Mindy: "I’m not like my character"
Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling’s new show on Fox, The Mindy Project, is already getting great buzz after premiering earlier this month. Fox reportedly just ordered two more episodes, bringing the first season lineup up to 24.

And it’s no surprise. With the hilarious and talented Kaling writing, executive producing and starring in the romantic comedy, we expected it to be an instant hit.

We had the chance to chat with Mindy on the phone recently about her “project” and find out what’s to come as the series progresses.

Mindy Kaling in The Mindy ProjectQ&A with Mindy Kaling

SheKnows: How similar is the character Mindy to the real Mindy?

Mindy: I think the character is pretty different than me, Mindy Kaling. I have the lifestyle of a nerdy, boring writer; that’s my lifestyle. The character has a kind of a great, glamorous job, and an even noble job. We both had arrested development. I think that’s where we’re very similar, like both were nerds.

Where me and my character really differ... she really likes to party. She likes to drink, and she is definitely more boy-crazy than me.

But I like writing that character. I think that’s really fun. If I wrote characters that were actually me and my life, no one would watch it. I’m not nearly so confident, which is why my character is so fun to play.

SheKnows: What qualities did you aim for with Mindy?

Mindy: I just wanted her to be really realistic and authentic. So many of the female characters I see on TV are there, just kind of put-upon and kind of boring, and they’re so worried about viewers not being able to handle them. I’m just trying to make her interesting and nuanced. If some people think she’s obnoxious, people are obnoxious sometimes, and they can still be like heroes.

In general, I just try not to do stock characters. I don’t want a character to be a bimbo, or the sassy black woman. Those are things you see sometimes and I think they’re not very fresh.

SheKnows: In the last episode, Mindy meets a cute sports agent. Will he make a reappearance?

Mindy: I just shot with him last night and I’m shooting with him again today. It’s been really fun shooting with Tommy [Dewey] because on his surface, he just looks like this handsome 90210 kind of character. But we’re playing him as a little bit of a weirdo. He comes off a little strong, he’s a little off-putting, and to me, seeing people like that redeem themselves is much more appealing than this kind of generic, boring, pretty good-looking love interest. He is certainly the anti-that.

Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Project

SheKnows: What can we expect from this week’s Halloween episode?

Mindy: I’m really, really psyched about it. Bill Hader comes back and there’s just a lot of really funny, fun stuff. I can tell you that I wear a series of costumes. I did about five or six costume changes. I look crazy in a lot of them too; by the way, they’re not sexy hot girl costumes.

The premise is that I’m going on a Halloween date with Josh [Tommy Dewey]. The Halloween costume is stressing my character out a lot, which that is very true of me, myself. I don’t have a Halloween costume and it’s already starting to make me panic a little bit.

SheKnows: On top of The Mindy Project and The Office, you also recently co-wrote the screenplay The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie, which will star Anne Hathaway. Why did you pick her for the lead?

Mindy: I’ve been a fan of Anne Hathaway since as long as I can remember. I had her in mind for a while. She’s not playing like a gorgeous heroine. The character is pretty unglamorous, a little dowdy, and a little down on herself. I just like that she’s into that.

One of my favorite movies is Bridget Jones’s Diary because Renee Zellweger just totally goes for it in terms of being imperfect, and is so funny. I like that she can play Cat Woman, but is also willing to play this more dreary part.

SheKnows: So what’s a day in your life really like?

Mindy: Typical day is I wake up between 5:30 and 6 in the morning. I walk like a zombie to my shower and take a shower. Drive to work, listen to some Justin Timberlake in the car on way there. Hair and make-up. My God, this is so boring I can’t believe it.

I check in with the writers (they get in around 10 a.m.), and I’ve been acting for couple of hours. I wrap, usually around five or six at night and in between writing stuff I will go check in with the writers. Then I stay until between 10 and midnight hanging out with them.

It sounds like a long schedule, but because it’s my show and because I’m working with essentially all my best friends, it feels like a very grueling vacation, if that makes sense.

SheKnows: How do you manage to keep it all together?

Mindy: Every morning I drink a blend of vegetables and fruits that’s a disgusting green potion that I believe keeps me alive. That’s my secret trick. I eat terribly. I could not do this job if I didn’t have the weird green fruit and vegetables that I eat every morning."

Be sure to catch Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Project, every Tuesday night on Fox at 9:30/8:30c.

More on Mindy Kaling

The Mindy Project review: Doctor Mindy treats funny bones
Mindy Kaling to Marge Simpson: You're my hero
The Mindy Project recap: An unromantic heroine

Photo credits: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC