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Mindy Kaling Sells Her Female-Fronted Comedy Late Night at Sundance for a Record $13 Million

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Mindy Kaling has broken Sundance Film Festival records with the sale of her feature film Late Night. Kaling wrote and starred in the workplace comedy, which sold to Amazon Studios for $13 million after a heated bidding war. The film was directed by Nisha Ganatra, who broke onto the indie scene with her queer rom-com Chutney Popcorn in 1999 and has since had a long career in television, working on Transparent, Dear White People, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine to name a few.

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Late Night stars Emma Thompson as Katherine Newbury, a late night talk show host whose ratings are dropping. As the network plans to replace her with an up and coming edgy male comic, Newbury decides to diversify her all-white all-male writing room by hiring Molly (Kaling), an eager newcomer.

Kaling describes the film as being “about women helping other women; it’s about mentor-ship and how to become a mentor … it’s a great workplace comedy.” A workplace comedy that deals with diversity anchored by two talented female leads with a female director? It’s like someone broke into our dream journal and made a movie based on everything we want to see.

Ganatra said of the record-breaking sale, “Sundance has been a dream for so long, you read about it, this magical place called the Eccles theater. All you want is for people to see your movie, there was some pressure — a film with two female leads. Will there be an audience for a female-driven movie? And to have a record breaking deal for a female-driven movie is amazing.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Kaling described the film as “It’s really a movie about being a fan … I’ve been such a comedy nerd my whole life and I’ve always felt like on the outside looking in. I had no connections in the business, but I just loved comedy and … late-night talk shows. So the movie is just really a love letter for people who are fans of something and really want to be part of it, but don’t feel like they have any access.”

Amazon has yet to set a release date for the film, but we will definitely be watching it.

(via Deadline, image: Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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