Mindy Kaling said in an interview with Variety (at the Palisades Village opening gala in L.A.) that she’s seen “an enormous amount of change” in gender parity in Hollywood recently, which if true, is a nice development in an otherwise bad news cycle that is threatening to make me lose all faith in institutions.
The threat of getting called out and slapped with a discrimination lawsuit is a powerful agent of change, according to Kaling. It’s not just bringing up women’s salaries but also leading to hiring more diverse crews with less pushback:
“I’m noticing that even in hiring, that before you used to have to convince people, ‘Hey, the crew need to be like 50% diverse in some way, or ‘The show needs to reflect diversity.’ It used to be convincing people, and now you don’t have to convince people. They know. I don’t know whether it’s fear of being shamed publicly or litigation, but whatever it is, it’s working.”
It also seems like the notion of diverse hiring is becoming less about hitting quotas and seen more and more as advantageous in and of itself. Kaling’s upcoming Hulu limited series Four Weddings and a Funeral (a remake of the 1994 original movie) seems like a good example of that—the movie will “follow the romance between an African American woman and a British-Pakistani man,” according to Variety:
“We’re doing the casting right now,” said Kaling, who is writing and executive producing with Matt Warburton. [...] “And as someone who’s been in exclusively interracial romances, I think it’s fun to write for them,” she added. “It’s been very interesting to me that it’s considered radical now to do an international casting call for funny, good looking people in their late 20s and people coming up to me and saying, ‘Thank you for writing this role for me.’ The thing is, this isn’t a ‘charity’ project. Everyone is smoking hot, and the stories are juicy.”
Kaling also says her salary might now be on par with other white male showrunners, which is great and I’m not totally surprised given how her career has taken off since her days on The Office:
“Even just transparency of wages, it’s like, whoa, it won’t happen in my daughter’s lifetime. It’ll be in my lifetime,’’ she said. “I might have equal pay parity to other white male showrunners who’ve created as many shows as I have.”
And yet, there’s a long way to go. Things need to start changing for people who are a further down the career ladder, too.