After a long winter’s nap, The Mindy Project returned to the schedule last Tuesday with a one-hour spring premiere. Paste recently had the chance to catch up with Adam Pally, who joined the cast this season as Dr. Peter Prentice.
Pally chatted about working with Mindy Kaling, the end of Happy Endings and what kind of doctor Peter really is.
Paste: How did you get cast on The Mindy Project
Adam Pally: It was pretty simple. Mindy and I had known each other for a while. She was in New York doing a play while I was at the Upright Citizens Brigade, and we always kind of crossed paths. When Happy Endings went down, she and Ike [Barinholtz, who plays Morgan], who is a writer on the show, reached out to me. I had just finished shooting a movie and I didn’t really have anything and I liked the show, so I came on and then they kept writing for me. It’s the kind of job where if Mindy Kaling asks something of you, you do it because she is who she is.
Paste: I feel as if I went to college with a guy like Peter. Did you know anyone like Peter? Are you basing the character on anyone?
Pally: I don’t know any guys quite as smart as him because I went to the University of Arizona, which is safety school for people who’ve been hit by buses. But I do know that frat mentality pretty well, and I was excited to be able to do it comedically. If you went to a school that had a football team, you knew a guy like Pete.
Paste: How would you describe Peter?
Pally: I would describe him as a guy that who would give you the best, most sensitive pap smear and then offer you a high five.
Paste: A lot of fans are still sad about Happy Endings cancellation. How are you doing?
Pally: I miss it. I talk to everybody almost every day. It’s hard. We’re still best friends, so you miss everybody immensely, but we’re really proud of what it is and what it was.
Paste: Were you surprised by the outcry after the show was cancelled and how devoted the show’s fans are?
Pally: It’s an honor and it’s a testament to [Happy Ending creator David Caspe. He created that show and knew what he was doing from day one. I think it’s a real testament that people still relate to it, and I look forward to hopefully working for him again.
Paste: Were you at all wary about getting involved in another TV show?
Pally: I was definitely cautious. I think I still am cautious. You know, I don’t know how long I’m around for on Mindy. I kind of let Mindy dictate that. I don’t know if I would go back to something because when you do something like Happy Endings, which is so fun and then you go to Mindy which is completely different but also an amazing job, you don’t want to spoil it. It’s so easy to take job after job, and you really want to do stuff that’s good.
Paste: Mindy and Danny may be a thing now, but there’s also been some romantic tension between Mindy and Peter this season. Will we see more of that?
Pally: I think you might see a little more of that. I think Mindy wrote the character for a reason. I know she has a very specific idea of where she wants these two to go, and there are a lot of romantic balls in the air. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think you’ll see a little more of that.
Paste: Why did you decide to become an actor?
Pally: I have no other skills. From the moment I was around in the world, it was obvious that I could not do anything else. It was comedy or bust.
Paste: What do you like about Mindy’s writing and how she writes characters?
Pally: Mindy’s writing is very specific. They’re characters you know from your past, but you couldn’t think of it if you drew it up and I love that. She has a very distinct voice, and it’s a pleasure to work with someone like that.
Paste: What was it like to join the show in its second season?
Pally: They’re all such professional people. I knew a lot of them. I was friendly with Chris Messina from New York. We had done a couple movies together. Ike is from Second City Chicago, so we kind of spoke the same language. It was seamless.
Paste: What else is coming up for you?
Pally: I have a movie coming out in September in which I am the lead, which is awesome. It is directed and written by Scot Armstrong who wrote Old School and Road Trip. It’s a big action comedy. It’s called Search Party. I play a guy who needs to get to a business meeting by eight in the morning except he’s gone to save his friend who is stranded Mexico.
Paste: Will you be on The Mindy Project for season three?
Pally: I’m through the end of this season. I don’t know after that. I do what Mindy asks.
Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.