Mindy Kaling is a national treasure. She started on TV as a writer for the mega-hit The Office, created her own hit show with The Mindy Project, and has propelled into the Hollywood A-List, voicing characters in Disney films and starting alongside Oprah and Reese Witherspoon in Ava Duvernay’s A Wrinkle In Time. When you look at the breadth of her work across television, films, and her best-selling novels, it’s unsurprising how that she’s been such a wild success. Now she has a bad-girl turn in Ocean’s 8.
Ocean’s 8 is the all-female reboot of the Steven Soderbergh-rendition of Ocean’s 11. Sandra Bullock stars as Debbie Ocean, Danny’s sister and crooked counterpart. She puts together a crack team of criminals to pull off a jewel heist at the Met Gala. Kaling plays Amita, a jeweler who lives in Jackson Heights, Queens. The Nerds of Color got the chance to go to the press conference at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as snagging an interview with Kaling herself. Here are Mindy’s 8 Ocean’s Film Facts:
1. She learned Hindi for the role.
At a press conference in the Temple of Dendur, Mindy told reporters that this was a particularly strenuous role for her because “I had this idea that the Ocean’s movies were just a breezy hangout where George Clooney plays pranks on everyone. And this was very challenging for me, because I had to learn Hindi for a scene I had… I had to hire a coach”
2. This is her first time playing a “shy girl.”
Usually playing over-the-top and over-confident characters, this is Mindy’s first real turn at playing a shy good girl. “I never get to play a criminal, so this was so fun,” she told NOC.
3. She’s hopeful about the future of diversity in Hollywood.
For Mindy, the future comes down to the directors and creators. “There are so many more roles for women of color now than there were when I moved to Los Angeles in 2004. I think it comes from directors who are excited about seeing change. Ava DuVernay and Gary Ross are both helping change the game.”
4. She wants to star in a kids movie.
Mindy is a new mom. But being a mother hasn’t changed her idea of her career path. Mindy told NOC, “Being a mother hasn’t really changed how I view the roles I take on. I think because I mostly create my own parts. I do think it would be fun to be in a great, magical kids movie. Too bad the Harry Potter’s are all done!” Hmmmm, what about a Mrs. Who standalone?
5. Her secret skill is a holiday helper.
Though her character in the film is an expert jeweler, Mindy told NOC that her secret skill is that she’s “very very good at wrapping presents.”
6. Mindy loved her dress designer.
Each of the women in the cast worked with their designers for the big heist scene. Mindy noted “My gown was designed by Naeem Khan, who I’ve been a fan of for years. He’s Indian, which was especially meaningful for me.”
7. Her favorite moment onset involves Sandra Bullock and cocktails.
Mindy told NOC, “One night we were shooting really late at night, all eight of us on a getaway van, and Sandy said: ‘wouldn’t it be great if we had a cocktail?’ And five minutes later she had these delicious cocktails for us to drink. That was really fun.”
8. Mindy actually goes to the Met Ball.
This last one is really just an excuse to show off her stunning costume at last year’s Heavenly Bodies Gala. Brava!
Ocean’s 8 is in theaters now nationwide.