'The Mindy Project': Chris Messina says Danny is 'brokenhearted'
Inspired by the OB/GYN mom of star, producer and writer Mindy Kaling ("The Office"), the freshman show (already renewed for a second season) focuses on romcom-loving Dr. Mindy Lahiri, who's in practice with Drs. Danny Castellano ( Chris Messina , "The Newsroom") and Jeremy Reed ( Ed Weeks).
Although Danny can be gruff on the surface, Messina -- taking a break before starting work on the show's penultimate episode on the New York street set at Universal Studios in Los Angeles -- thinks it was a little baby magic that set him in his professional path.
"I always thought he went to med school for something else," Messina tells Zap2it, "but he had to make an emergency delivery, and that was it. From there on, he maybe changed his course as a doctor."
While Mindy has had her romantic ups and downs, a lot of fan speculation centers on a possible relationship for her and the divorced Danny -- but he has issues to deal with first.
"I like Danny," Messina says. "He's incredibly brokenhearted and set in his ways. He's got a chip on his shoulder. He says it like it is. That's what I like about him. He's like Inspector Clouseau -- he acts one way, but he's really fumbling, falling. Even when it's not such a big fall, on the inside, he's really vulnerable.
"So, it's been fun to play with that. Danny's definitely compensating."
While conventional TV wisdom says that putting flirting couples together kills a show, Kaling doesn't think it's necessarily a terminal situation.
"I know funny couples," she says, "and the great thing about this, with Chris Messina, even if those two characters were a couple -- and I'm not saying we're headed there, and I'm really enjoying what's going on in the show right now -- they're so different, and they'd have different attitudes about something as a married couple.
"Married couples fight, too, and have disagreements and funny ways of dealing with them."