Mindy Kaling is bringing her childhood to the small screen and she’s already found the actor she wants to play the younger version of herself. Newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan has been cast in the upcoming Netflix series that is inspired by Kaling’s upbringing, with the series already earning a 10-episode green light.
The still untitled series will star the Toronto native as Devi, a first-generation South Asian teenager growing up in America. The character is described by The Hollywood Reporter as “an overachieving high school sophomore who has a short fuse that gets her into difficult situations.” Since Kaling is involved, these difficult situations will be both heartfelt and hilarious.
The new show acts as the first acting job for Ramakrishnan, who beat out 15,000 hopefuls for the role. Ramakrishnan is the second young actor from Toronto to land a major role in Hollywood this year, with Disney’s live action remake of Aladdin led by Canadian actor Mena Massoud.
Kaling is set to write the new series while also acting as the executive producer and showrunner, partnering with Lang Fisher, who also worked with Kaling on The Mindy Project. The series will shoot in Los Angeles (we were hoping for Toronto!) and while a release date has not been announced, we’re already excited.
Kaling has previously written about her childhood in her books Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (2011) and Why Not Me? (2013). Both memoirs touch on Kaling’s childhood growing up in Boston as a first-generation Desi American girl, with Kaling straddling the two worlds of her parents’ Tamil and Bengali cultures while also finding her own identity as an American child and teen. It’s a situation that many American and Canadian readers can relate to, which makes Kaling’s upcoming semi-autobiographical series even more exciting.
The actor and writer, who just finished writing and starring in Late Night with Emma Thompson, has been vocal about her desire to bring more Desi characters to the big and small screen. While promoting Late Night, Kaling spoke with MTV News about her hopes to someday work with Marvel on a project surrounding Ms. Marvel. The superhero is based on a character named Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teenager who fights for justice and still finds time to be a normal teen (a.k.a. lots of angst).
“I think the people I’ve spoken to at Marvel about it are so excited about the character and I think that they’re trying to figure out what to do with it, and I told them I would help in any way because I truly love her,” said Kaling. Asked by MTV News host Josh Horowitz who Kaling thinks should play Khan, The Office alum said that she feels like an unknown actor may be the best bet.
.@mindykaling on the conversations she’s had with @MarvelStudios about #MsMarvel, and who she thinks she portray the Pakistani American superhero: “I feel it might need to be an unknown” pic.twitter.com/kySV3gxgec
— MTV NEWS (@MTVNEWS) June 9, 2019