“Late Night” an Inspiring, Hilarious Tale of Women Making Their Mark

When we think of strong, empowered women, Dame Emma Thompson (Sybill Trelawney) is high on the list. It’s entirely believable, therefore, when – in the official trailer for her new movie, Late Night – she’s seen stalking through her office like a lioness, the all-male writing staff of her late-night talk show literally fleeing her impending arrival.

That’s no accident. Mindy Kaling (The Office) wrote the script for the film and admits she created Thompson’s character, Katherine Newbury, specifically with the actress in mind.

I was this creep in my home writing fan fiction for Emma Thompson, who[m] I did not know, hoping that she would read it.

Thompson is gloriously brutal in the trailer, firing writers left and right with the stone-faced flair of Simon Cowell and refusing to compliment babies. In a new clip released last week, she shoots down a male employee asking for a raise after the birth of his second child by laying the double standard bare.

You’re asking for a raise, not because of any work-related contribution you’ve made but simply because you have a family, and that’s why, in the 1950s, family men were promoted over the women they worked with. I’ve never encountered it, actually, in such a clean, teachable way.

 

 

But Thompson’s character soon finds herself dealing with another issue that has long plagued women in the workplace, particularly those in the entertainment industry: the prospect of replacement once the powers that be feel you’re past your prime.

Newbury learns she’s likely in the midst of her final year as host of her show – that is, unless she can become beloved enough by the public that her ousting would prompt outcry. Enter Kaling’s character, Molly Patel.

Patel makes an awkward entrance into the noticeably monochromatic writers’ room but soon realizes what she needs to do to make her mark. Courageous enough to point out the flaws in Newbury’s persona, she’s asked by the host what, exactly, is wrong with her comedy bits. “You’re a little old and a little white,” Patel replies simply.

What follows is an inspiring story of women supporting women, as Patel realizes her dream while at the same time helping Newbury save hers. The film also serves as Kaling’s loving tribute to the industry.

It’s really a movie about being a fan. I’ve been such a comedy nerd my whole life, and I’ve always felt like I was on the outside looking in. I had no connections in the business, but I just loved comedy and late-night talk shows. So the movie is just really a love letter for people who are fans of something and really want to be part of it but don’t feel like they have any access.

Kaling told the Associated Press that she drew on many of her own experiences as both the newbie and the person in charge while writing the screenplay. A gag in the film of forgetting the writers’ names and referring to them instead as numbers one through eight was based directly on a famous comedian Kaling says she “will never name.”

Late Night has already made a name for itself ahead of its June 7 release. It was a smash hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah, with lines around the block for its second screening. That prompted a major investment by Amazon Studios, which purchased the movie’s United States distribution rights for $13 million, a festival record. Late Night will make its European debut May 30, opening Sundance Film Festival: London on May 30.

You can view the movie’s official trailer and a few stills below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!