SET VISIT: Mindy Project lands James Franco

“I don’t watch a ton of TV, but I have hip friends in LA and New York who like The Mindy Project.”

So says James Franco, who guest stars on the second-year comedy as it returns to Fox and City Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. ET. 
Franco plays a rival MD brought in to replace Mindy after she drops everything to flee to Haiti to be with her Christian minister boyfriend. Franco’s Dr. Paul Leotard is a former model-turned-doctor and everybody in the office instantly loves him and forgets about Mindy.
I pulled the Franco quote off the EPK included in the Fox screener of episodes one and two of the new season. The series comes back in fine form, with star Mindy Kaling still sporting her short ‘do from last May’s cliffhanger.
Kaling leading critics through a tour of the medical offices set
Kaling had it on as she led critics on a tour of her set this summer. The Mindy Project is shot on the Universal Studios lot just north of the Hollywood hills.
She was thrilled to land Franco for the return. Seth Rogan, who guested last season, gave the experience a thumbs up, which is all it took for Franco to sign on. The busy film star is already booked to shoot at least one more episode this season.
Fox and NBC-Universal were great hosts at the Mindy Project set visit,
adding touches such as these costume displays for critics to peruse
Franco met Kaling for the first time last year on the set of This is the End, the apocalyptic feature film comedy which also featured Rogan as well as fellow Canadian Jay Baruchel. Franco felt at home on the series and can’t wait to do it again. “Mindy is an actor/writer, so that trickled down to everyone,” he says. “As a performer, it’s a nice place to be—you feel like a contributor.”
One of the critics had a baby during the set visit. Sorry, “was” a baby
Kaling says Franco, “has the best smile I’ve ever seen in my entire life—and I’ve seen some winning smiles. I mean, his smile can stop a clock.”
As well as writing episodes, Kaling, 34, is also an executive producer on her series. She led critics on a tour of her set, including the medical office where Kaling’s character works as an OB/GYN. 
Yes, there are wedding presents in Mindy’s apartment
Critics walked right in to the fake nursery, where they found dolls in cloth caps snug in the glass hospital cribs. Mindy’s office features actual photos of her family on the walls. Her New York apartment set is stylish and eclectic and, on the day the press visits, crowded with what appears to be beautifully wrapped wedding shower presents.
Upon leaving the set and heading back on the shuttle, critics were
given this box of fortune cookies with Mindy sayings inside such
as “Best friend isn’t a person, it’s a tier” and “Catch you on the slime”

Kaling herself picked out many of the throw cushions, photo frames and other personal touches in the apartment set. As she tells reporters, she wanted the space to reflect the character, who is a little louder and more colourful than the star herself.

Read my full story on Kaling and the press tour visit to the set of The Mindy Project here.
Not James Franco, but an incredible look-a-like behind Mindy’s desk

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