Prepare yourselves! Mindy Kaling is ready to face off against James Franco on the season-two premiere of “The Mindy Project”. While it may seem like everything in Dr. Mindy’s love life is settled, her work life is a bit more in flux. And that has a lot to do with the appearance of Franco’s cool, charming Dr. Paul Leotard during Tuesday’s (September 17) season premiere on Fox.
Kaling explained that the Oscar-nominee brought an “ease” to his role as a dreamy gynecologist/sex therapist/former model who tries to weasel his way into her medical practice. She told MTV News, “His name is Paul Leotard, which is a ridiculous name and the fact that he was like ’Yeah that’s a great name for the character,’ he just rolls with everything. In fact, when he introduced himself to me on the show he pronounced it ’Lay-o-tard,’ which is even funnier to me. He just wants to be the weirdest, funniest version of himself.”
And, yes, Kaling is totally aware that Franco’s Renaissance man-type role does pay homage to Franco’s real-life tendency to want to try anything and everything, whether it is college courses, poetry or an arty flick. “We wanted there to be a little bit of a wink. When he’s putting up his credentials [during the episode], there’s like nine things he does and I think that James is so good at poking fun at himself,” she said. “He’s like a multi-hyphenate-[at]-large. So, yeah, he was excited to, I think, make light of that.”
As for how Franco managed to squeeze his multi-episode run on “Mindy” into his busy schedule, Kaling explained it has its origins in her appearance in Franco’s 2013 apocalypse-themed comedy, “This Is The End.”
“Well, I’d known James for a while. And then we shot ’This Is The End’ together, and I’m in it for that [squeezes fingers together] long before I get murdered by the apocalypse. But he’s just a really funny, awesome guy,” she recalled. “He’s a big movie star, but he has little breaks when he’s not directing or painting or whatever. So he said he wanted to come by. And so we we’re really excited to have him.”
“The Mindy Project” premieres at 9:30 p.m. ET on Fox.