Watch Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling Go Head to Head in ‘Late Night’

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It’s a comedy writers’ room, but plenty of drama ensues.

In “Late Night,” Emma Thompson plays the talk-show host Katherine Newbury, who is pondering how to save her program from sinking ratings. A newcomer to the writing staff (Mindy Kaling, also the movie’s screenwriter) has ideas about the show, but they are welcomed with less than open arms.

In her narration, the director Nisha Ganatra discusses how she put Thompson and Kaling on opposite sides of the table to signify that the two women are “really on the same journey,” if at different points in their career. She also talks about techniques that add visual variety to a scene that mostly consists of characters talking around a table.

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