Chris Messina on How a 'Mindy Project' Baby Changes Everything: 'The Show Won't Be the Same!'
By John Boone
If you’re worried that The Mindy Project won’t be the same once Mindy and Danny’s baby arrives, well...you’re right.
“The show won’t be the same. It will be different,” Dr. Castellano himself, Chris Messina, told ETonline while discussing the film Alex of Venice, his upcoming directorial debut. (More on that tomorrow.) “But the style of the show won’t change…They’ll still get the laughs.”
In our Q&A, he discussed everything from what he thinks of the surprising pregnancy reveal, to what kind of dad he thinks Danny will be, to the Annette and Dot spin-off we all want to see. And of course we asked if we’ll see Danny bust out his stripper moves again this season.
ETonline: What was your reaction when you found out they were doing the pregnancy storyline?
Chris Messina: I thought it was cool. Mindy and her team, I feel like they always do things their own way. They’ve done it from the very beginning. For better or for worse -- and I like this about them -- I don’t know if they are so concerned with pleasing everybody, rather than what excites them to write. So, if they’re excited about something, I shut up and listen. Because they’re a wonderful, talented group of writers.
ET: It seems like, more than any other sitcom recently, The Mindy Project has -- and excuse the saying -- the balls to make these big changes that other sitcoms aren’t. So they’re in the fourth season of characters being the same and doing the same things, but this show is throwing that out and taking big swings.
I agree. That’s the right word -- the balls. It’s nice as an actor, because I was recently looking at something from the first season and it was a very different character that I was playing. It’s still the same guy, but he was at a different part of his life, and it’s nice as an actor that you get to change more and grow. I enjoy that. I like their balls, and I salute and back up whatever they’re going for.
ET: What would you say to fans that think the show won’t be the same once there’s a baby involved?
I would say the show won’t be the same. It will be different. But people change and grow. But the style of the show won’t change. They’re not going to tune in and it’s going to be a horror film. Or a straight up drama. They’ll still get the laughs -- but it will just be different. For me, as any fan of anything, 22 episodes of however many seasons of the same nonsense is not interesting.
ET: And it’s not like Mindy and Danny are going to be perfect parents.
There’s a lot of humor and interesting territory to mine in Mindy and Danny being parents, and how does that work? And does it work? I think it makes room for more interesting stuff. But you know, I get it. If the show is something you enjoy and you want to morph with, that’s great. And if not, what can I tell you?
ET: What kind of dad do you think Danny will be?
I think he’ll be kind of great! I think he’ll be super loving and overprotective. In my mind -- and I haven’t had too many discussions about it -- I imagine that he will be a father who maybe kind of finds himself more in his kid -- almost finds a peace in being a dad. I actually think he would never imagine himself -- I think he softens a lot through love and I think being a dad will take that too a new level. Certainly, a baby.
ET: One of the reasons we’re most excited for the baby is to see how Danny’s mom, Annette (Rhea Perlman), reacts. If this is how she treats her son, we can’t imagine how she’ll be with her grandchild.
Right! Yeah, there’s a lot to mine there. She’s something, isn’t she? Rhea is such a great addition to the show.
ET: We want a spin-off web show of just Annette and Dot (Jenny O'Hara).
I always say that! I think that you guys should push for that to happen. The two of them are phenomenal together and they’re such great actors. I love when they’re on the show and I love acting with them.
ET: Danny's dance for Mindy to Aaliyah's "Try Again" is still one of our favorite TV moments ever. And in the premiere this season, you stripped to "American Woman." We have to ask -- will we see Danny dance again anytime soon?
Not that I know of.
ET: Do you leave the door open to it?
The door is always open. But once you do that, similar to what we talked about before, you got to kind of move on. Because eventually people are going to be like, he’s not that good of a dancer.
ET: We think a lot of people would disagree with you about that.
Really? Well, that’s very nice. The real dancers are the choreographers that show me the dances. If we had filmed them do it and put it side by side with me, you’d be like, well he kind of sucks. But that’s very nice, I appreciate it.
ET: We’ll have to wait to see what Danny’s next hidden talent is.
Yeah, or maybe Danny’s kid will dance!
Come back to ETonline tomorrow morning to see the exclusive premiere of the poster for Chris Messina’s directorial debut, Alex of Venice, and hear how the movie’s Mindy Project cast cameo came to be.
In other TV news, get the exclusive scoop on Pretty Little Liars’ big dance-off!