The Office’s Rainn Wilson: ‘The Mindy Project’ Is Next ‘Sex & The City’

Movies & TV

Mindy Kaling, The Office’s former man-crazy ditz now plays a doctor on TV. With The Mindy Project premiering on Fox tomorrow night (Sept. 25), VIBE chats with Kaling’s former Office co-star Rainn Wilson about the bubbly brainiac’s gift for gab.

VIBE: So the premise of the show is that Mindy plays a doctor weaving through different romantic encounters hoping to find this ideal man. How similar is “Mindy” from the show to Mindy in real life?

Rainn Wilson: I think that Mindy could never, ever, ever, ever be a doctor. She has such severe A.D.D and addiction to her BlackBerry. Like, literally will sew her BlackBerry to the inside of a patient. With all the surgery, it would really cut into her shopping time.

So she’s more similar to Kelly from The Office.

Mindy is somewhere between the Mindy of The Mindy Project and Kelly from The Office. She’s not as ditzy as Kelly. There’s something about Hollywood that it’s so A.D.D-friendly. There a lot of actors with short attention spans, and she sits right there. She’ll be able to executively produce and run a show and be brilliant at it, but I don’t think that she could ever be a doctor. I don’t think she could survive without comedy.

She’s spent a long time playing a supporting role. What makes her a great leading lady on TV?

Mindy is so tapped into the zeitgeist. If you’re a 30-year-old urban girl, Mindy Kaling is your idol. Forget Lady Gaga or Charlize Theron, or whoever’s hot these days. Mindy is smart, sarcastic, quick-witted and she’s not pretentious. She has excellent taste. She’s got a good heart. And she’s a very upbeat, loving person. That’s what I love about Mindy, and why people really respond to her so positively. There’s a lot of sarcastic women role models out there, but they’re not as likeable. Mindy is so likeable that she can say anything. She can get away with anything, and you just love her. She could be like, “Rainn you are a big fat idiot and you look like a freak.” And you have to be like, “Oh, Mindy, you’re so adorable.”

What about her humor in particular is striking?

She’s got this great, bubbly curiosity about the world. She loves life, and she loves to discover what’s funny. I’ll talk to her, and she’ll be like, “You know what would be really funny?” She has stories and observations, and she just really digs into being alive. That’s where her humor comes from.

Why do you think The Mindy Project will be a big primetime hit?

I think it’s going to be the next Sex & The City—it’s that girl for the next century. She’s like an Indian Marlo Thomas.

Will you be making any cameos or guest appearances on the show?

I told her “write me in,” I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’d love to be on it.

Since we’re a hip-hop magazine, I’m curious what type of hip-hop you’re into.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Shabbazz Palaces. They’re an experimental hip-hop group from Seattle. They’re really cool. One of the guys used to be in Digable Planets back in the day… Butterfly. I’m officially the whitest human being on the planet if I’m going to tell you about hip-hop.