Mindy Kaling is already arguably the queen of television in the real world, and now she’s moved on to conquering TV in the fictional world. In her latest role on Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, Kaling plays Audra, a TV anchor, which is one of the few entertainment jobs the writer/producer/actor hasn’t taken on in the real world (yet). But even still, she was right at home on the new series, especially among a cast comprised of many of her real-life friends. In fact, Mindy Kaling’s quotes about her The Morning Show role make it sound like her experience on the show was basically just one big love fest.
With a career as prolific as Kaling’s, she’s made quite a few friends in the entertainment industry. So it’s no surprise her role on The Morning Show came about thanks to one of those connections. Kaling explains she joined the cast of the Apple TV+ series all because its star and producer Reese Witherspoon asked her to do it.
"I was psyched to do something with Apple, because it seemed like such a splashy opportunity," Kaling says. "And when Reese asks me to do anything, I just do it."
Witherspoon and Kaling previously starred in 2018’s A Wrinkle in Time together, and Witherspoon had a guest spot in the final season of The Mindy Project, so The Morning Show was an exciting chance for the friends to work on another project together.
But Witherspoon isn’t the only old friend Kaling hung out with on The Morning Show. Mark Duplass, who had a recurring role on Kaling’s sitcom The Mindy Project, stars in the series as Chip, a producer on the main show-within-the-show.
And then, of course, Kaling’s role on The Morning Show also serves as a major reunion between herself and one of her co-stars from her early days in television. Kaling began her career as a writer and actor on The Office, so she and Michael Scott himself, Steve Carell, go way back. Hearing that he’s a big part of The Morning Show was a huge draw for Kaling. "I was thrilled cause I knew Steve was already in it," Kaling says. Carell’s morning show character is a large departure from others he played before, but Kaling was on board for it: "It was funny to see him in this particular project, because it’s so different from The Office, so I think it’s exciting to have him play this kind of role," she explains.
Working on The Morning Show also gave Kaling the opportunity to bond with some big names who she hadn’t collaborated with before, like Jennifer Aniston.
"You know, I think with Jen Aniston — who I had kind of met once before but I didn’t know until this project — I was just struck by how, just, kind she was," Kaling describes. "She didn’t have to sit and talk to me, but she just went out of her way to be super nice. With someone like that who’s so famous, your expectation is like, ‘Hey, you do not need to talk to me. Go to your show and just hang out by yourself.’ So I was really delighted by how nice she was."
Kaling maintains that same sort of positive energy in her own life. "So much of my creativity comes from the fact that there’s a certain group of people that I know are really looking up to me," Kaling explains, mentioning young women of color specifically.
With that in mind, Kaling makes an effort to use her celebrity for good. Recently, she teamed up with DSW to promote a popup shoe store dedicated to donating shoes to others. Fans can join Kaling in participating by donating online, or visiting the pop-up store in New York from Dec. 12-15.
Season 1 of The Morning Show releases new episodes on Fridays on Apple TV+.
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