In Amazon Studios’ new comedy Late Night, now in limited release and in theaters everywhere June 14, Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson star in what might be the year’s most compelling fantasy film. But the fantasy of Late Night isn’t a sweeping Game of Thrones-style epic or a reality-distorting rom-com in the vein of Isn’t It Romantic. Instead, Late Night seems to take place in an alternate universe where a woman, played by Emma Thompson, hosts a major network late night talk show. Take that, Khaleesi!
The film was written by Kaling, who stars as Molly, a chemical engineering plant worker who catches a big break when Katherine Newbiry’s (Thompson) flailing talk show hires her as a writer. Joining an all-male writer’s room, it becomes clear that Molly is a diversity hire, but the film is explicit about the need for marginalized folks (women, people of color, and queer people) to use any in they get. After all, even if you’re a diversity hire, you’ve still got the job and it’s now yours to make something of.
Last month in London, Out caught an advance screening of Late Night and sat down with Thompson and Kaling to talk about the gender politics of television, which of Thompson’s iconic characters should have their own talk show, and what it means to be a “diversity hire.”
Late Night is now playing in select theaters, and opens everywhere June 14.