The year 2019 has started on a blockbuster note for Indian American actress/writer Mindy Kaling and Indian American filmmaker Nisha Ganatra.
Amazon has paid big bucks for their new film, “Late Night,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 25.
The streaming platform, reported the New York Post, has purchased the U.S. distribution rights for the film for $13 million — a new record for the festival. This is Kaling’s first feature film as both a writer and leading actress.
“Mindy Kaling has crafted the rare film that is both entertaining and powerful,” Deadline quoted Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios, as saying. “The moment the lights came up after the premiere, we knew ‘Late Night’ is a film our viewers will love and talk about. It’s an incisive workplace comedy that reinvents all the tropes about women.”
Helmed by Ganatra and written/produced by Kaling, “Late Night” stars Emma Thompson as Katherine Newbury, a pioneer and legendary host on the late-night talk-show circuit.
Here’s the film’s synopsis, according to the festival: “When Katherine accused of being a ‘woman who hates women,’ she puts affirmative action on the to-do list, and—presto! —Molly (Mindy Kaling) is hired as the one woman in Katherine’s all-male writers’ room. But Molly might be too little too late, as the formidable Katherine also faces the reality of low ratings and a network that wants to replace her. Molly, wanting to prove she’s not simply a diversity hire who’s disrupting the comfort of the brotherhood, is determined to help Katherine by revitalizing her show and career—and possibly effect even bigger change at the same time.”
The Sundance Film Festival describes the film as “smartly” written by Kaling and “snappily” directed by Ganatra, which takes on “white privilege, entitlement, and a culture veering toward crassness and conservatism.”
In a cover story for Variety, Kaling said that she saw “Late Night” as a chance to retell a familiar story of someone trying to break into the entertainment business from a fresh perspective.
“So much of this movie is about being a fan and being on the outside of the entertainment business,” Kaling told Variety. “That story has been told many, many, many times by 52-year-old white men, and I love all those movies. And as a comedy nerd I’ve always identified with them because it was the closest thing that I could identify with. There was no one like me making those kind of films.”
“Late Night” co-stars John Lithgow, Amy Ryan, and Ike Barinholtz.
According to Variety, CAA and 30WEST negotiated the sale with Amazon.