And another one bites the dust! HitFix has confirmed the news we suspected after watching last night's new episode of The Mindy Project: Dr. Shulman (aka Stephen Tobolowsky) has retired from the show, permanently. The actor is another victim of the freshman show's ongoing retooling, alongside the upcoming departure of Amanda Setton (Shauna the receptionist) and Anna Camp (aka best friend Gwen)'s downgraded role from series regular to recurring guest star.
The website spoke with Tobolowsky via email, where the actor explained his unexpected departure as out of his control. "As to not being on The Mindy Project, the decision was theirs," explained Tobolowsky. The actor explained that after the first two episodes, he "heard [they] were shooting some extra coverage for the office scenes" only to find out that his "part was rewritten. Most of the jokes were gone. The part was far less whimsical and more perfunctory."
The real surprise for Tobolowsky was when, after the reshoots, he still found that his part "wasn't in the Thanksgiving show." Shortly after, Mr. Shulman got the bad news, when he "was told that they didn't really want Mindy [Kaling] to have a boss in the office. Then Mindy told me I was being written out of the show ... I certainly hope I didn't stink up the joint."
Though Tobolowsky's disappointment is palpable, he understands that sometimes, these things are just the nature of the business. "It takes a writer and a team of writers a good deal of time to create the chemistry of characters to make a show. ... I don't think anything untoward happened. I suspect I was a casualty of a show meeting many different demands from different sources."
Executive producer Matt Warburton expanded on the sadness that the whole staff felt when faced with Tobolowsky's write-off, explaining that everyone "really love Stephen, and Dr. Shulman was one of the writers' very favorite characters to write for." In the end, it came down to story line integrity and needing to challenge the main characters more. "We ended up realizing that Mindy would have more interesting challenges at the workplace if she didn't have an avuncular figure to go to for mediation. ... [T]he three of them [Kaling, Chris Messina, Ed Weeks] have to work together to solve problems for the practice—which leads to more interesting territory, story-wise."
On the flip side, all is not about losing on The Mindy Project, as the show recently convinced one of its producers, B.J. Novak to tackle a guest-starring role on the show. According to Vulture, Novak will play Jamie, a potential love interest for Dr. Lahiri (of course!) and "a charming Latin professor who bonds with Mindy over their love of a dead language." A serious bonus for fans of the Kelly Kapoor/Ryan Howard relationship from The Office, no doubt! Vulture also reports that Professor Jamie will have a friend named Lucy (played by Susan Sarandon's daughter Eva Amurri). Can Kaling and Novak ever do a show where they don't play love interests (sidenote: not that we mind at all!)? The two real-life best friends have previously been linked as one of those on/off-again couples that apparently can miraculously still be friends and work together regardless of the status of their relationship. (People do that?) But we have to ask: does this mean the end of Josh and Mindy on the show? But he was so funny...ish! Novak's episode is slated to air early 2013.
Hollywood.com has reached out for comment, but had yet to hear back at the time of publication. Are you surprised by this recent casting shake-up from The Mindy Project? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/FOX]
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Director Jason Reitman made a very smart decision when approaching his new film Young Adult. His past two successes Juno and Up in the Air were stylized dramedies one with colorful dialogue and production design flourishes the other with precision camera work his director's hand evident at every turn. In his latest he pulls way back letting his lead character—a vile destructive former high school prom queen named Mavis (Charlize Theron)—do the talking. And talk she does—every word a stinging insult disillusioned wish holier-than-thou gripe or embarrassing truth. Reitman unleashes an unfiltered Theron and the results are gut-wrenching hilarious and powerful.
While working on her latest Sweet Valley High-esque book Mavis receives a mass e-mail from her high school boyfriend Buddy (Patrick Wilson) announcing that he and his wife are expecting their first child. This sets a fire under Mavis' ass and after chugging a 2-Liter of Diet Coke and throwing on a Hello Kitty tee she hits the road to take back the man that's rightfully hers. Mavis shacks up in a drab hotel located in the heart of her small Minnesota hometown and immediately proceeds to the bar to indulge in her favorite pastime: pounding back whiskey. There she runs in to one of her forgettable high school classmates Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt) who she only recalls after being reminded of a horrendous gay bashing that left both his legs crippled ("And I'm not even gay."). The two form an unlikely friendship—Matt being enamored by Mavis' pathetic quest Mavis needing an ear to talk off.
Young Adult's simple premise allows writer Diablo Cody (Juno The United States of Tara) to move Mavis from depressing suburban local to depressing suburban local with ease creating a playground of homogenized perfection for Theron's foul behavior. Whether she open-mouth chewing on fried chicken at the local KFC/Taco Bell covering up last night's hangover with a fresh facial or seducing Buddy at the Applebee's-esque restaurant Mavis never falters always looking down at her surroundings finding excuses for why she's not the source of her own problems.
Theron's performance is fearless one of the few crass female performances shaded with human complexity and empathy. Young Adult is a very funny film that works because of its star's ability to teeter the edge of comical and truly unlikable. Oswalt and Wilson amplify the main performance embodying their own grounded characters to properly riff with the vulgar Mavis. Matt is a very Patton-y character to begin with but between is jokey back-and-forths with Mavis is an inherent sadness one Oswalt surfaces with a contrasting subtly. Unlike Mavis Matt has the ability to rise above is own plight and change. His new friend is tragically a lost cause. At times the film's story feels too narrow never allowing us to really explore Mavis' other relationships but it's hard to naysay for wanting more.
Few movies attempt to mine comedy out of the bleakness of everyday life; even fewer do so while twisting storytelling conventions. You watch Young Adult with hopes for Mavis but Reitman and Cody aren't ready to indulge you. In Theron they've found one of the few actresses in town who can simultaneously look like a conventionally gorgeous blonde bombshell and complete make-up-caked crap a woman with the balls to take a character who relishes in schadenfreude. They don't squander that talent. From the first to the umpteenth Teenage Fanclub sound cue Mavis is delusional caught up in her own fantasy and willing to execute it at any cost. It's a truly cringe-worthy mission but it works because sadly we all know someone like that.