Why A 'Mindy Project' Revamp Works For Weeks

By JARETT WIESELMAN

March 19, 2013

It took a hot minute, but Mindy Kaling has finally figured out the perfect combination of characters that makes The Mindy Project one of TV's brightest new stars -- and thankfully Ed Weeks, who plays the dashing ladies man Dr. Jeremy Reed, is part of that equation. 

ETonline recently caught up with the perfectly-accented actor to talk about the evolution of his character (from foe to friend) and found out that flipping the script was the best thing that could have happened!

ETonline: First of all, congrats on the season two renewal. How did you find out?
Ed Weeks: My friend texted me, actually. I had no idea what she was talking about, so I looked online and found out. Then I was on-set later that day and we all celebrated ... very briefly. The schedule is so hectic, so there wasn't a lot of time for jumping up and down. But we did PaleyFest last week, which was a nice moment of reflection where we could realize how far the show had come.

ETonline: Speaking of reflection, I'm curious to hear your thoughts about how much Jeremy has changed since the pilot, where he was more of a romantic foil for Mindy.
Weeks: What's interesting is the character was shifting as soon as I auditioned for it because he was originally written as a Bradley Cooper type. But I went in and read it in my natural accent because I really wanted to make sure I landed the jokes properly. You're conditioned to being funny in your natural voice and I really loved this script, so I wanted to do justice to the rhythm of those jokes. Luckily they went for it. From there, the character evolved into this Hugh Grant-type cad who has a friends with benefits type relationship with Mindy. But between the pilot and the next episode, [the producers] decided it wasn't the best idea for a series regular to be, for lack of a better word, using Mindy's character sexually. They wanted us to be more of a family and if I was having sex with Mindy and not calling her, it wasn't ideal for the ensemble's longevity.

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ETonline: Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but how glad are you they made that change?
Weeks: I'm so glad. And it's one of those things you worry about at the time because you don't know exactly what it means when they pull away from your character's plan. You worry they don't like your performance or people don't like your character; all this mercurial stuff that goes on behind the scenes that we're not privy to. I was still feeling very anxious about my place on the show when they started changing the direction of my character because this is my first job in America. It was unsettling. But I've seen how the character has evolved and what storylines the writers are now able to put him in, so it's been amazing they've turned him into someone other than the f*ck buddy of the eponymous heroine. It makes me very glad and grateful because I'm exploring so many more comedic colors than I would have -- Jeremy can be sweet and panicky and pathetic and cowardly and warm-hearted and all these more human traits that he couldn't have if he were just representing the kind of guy who uses women.

ETonline: It also allows him to be a friend to Danny, which is one of my favorite relationships on the show.
Weeks: Thank you for saying that. I'm glad it happened because, like you say, it's enabled me to become a friend to Mindy and Danny, whereas they were initially setting up animosity between Jeremy and Danny. I think the intention was always for the audience to always be in favor of Mindy with Danny, not Jeremy, so taking me out of that romantic equation solved a lot of problems because it meant I could have bromantic adventures with Danny and Morgan and could give Mindy fun advice on hooking up. Everything became more sibling in nature.

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ETonline: And I'm excited to see that their bromance eventually includes a puppy. Can you explain that Tweet?
Weeks: [laughs] There has been a lot of puppy action on my Twitter feed lately. That all connects to Morgan because, I don't know if you've noticed, but there's a lot of stuff in the show about Morgan being in love with dogs. Little canine easter eggs, like he's always going to the quarry to feed dogs. That puppy fits in to an upcoming episode where Danny and I go to make amends with Morgan and that puppy becomes one of our bargaining tools. It was such a sweet little thing. Everyone's hearts melted when they saw the puppy, which was so cute and small and gorgeous and nervous. I am similar to Morgan in the way that we're both big bears of men who love dogs.

ETonline: Tonight's episode is all about Mindy's birthday party. What can you tease?
Weeks: Mindy's friends throw her a surprise birthday party and it gradually becomes the worst birthday she's ever had because everyone keeps giving her well-intentioned but tactless gifts. Like an elliptical trainer and a book titled Microwave Cooking For One. It's one of those things where it's a real mix of her workplace colleagues, her college friends and this guy who she hooked up with in The Hamptons, who is just known as "Mike Accident" in her cellphone. We've all been at those parties where nothing quite meshes, so she storms off and we have to go find her. It's a hilarious mess.

The Mindy Project airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.



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