In a move that proves women in Hollywood are finally starting to get their due, Mindy Kaling is in early negotiations with Amazon Studios to snag a $13 million rights deal for Late Night, which just premiered at Sundance. While movies that have premiered at this festival have technically sold for more, this is currently the highest amount for a domestic-only deal. And it’s a pretty freaking big deal—for Kaling, and for all women of color working in the industry.
Kaling stars in, produced, and wrote the comedy, and it’s directed by Nisha Ganatra, who worked on the The Mindy Project. The film follows an Indian-American comedy writer (Kaling) who’s hired by a seasoned late-night talk show host (Emma Thompson) to help modernize her white male writer’s room.
That other “incredible female” is Jennifer Salke, the new chief of Amazon Studios, and a veteran television executive who’s behind hits like NBC’s This Is Us. Salke told Deadline, “The moment the lights came up after the premiere, we knew Late Night is a film our viewers will love and talk about. It’s an incisive workplace comedy that reinvents all the tropes about women. We too rarely get to see female characters like this—complex, flawed, and unapologetically ambitious.”
Amazon Studios was one of four serious bidders for Kaling’s movie, and it’s Salke’s first major film festival agreement. It’s also a majorly empowering development for women of color everywhere.