Mindy Kaling Taps Reese Witherspoon’s Son For New Role In Season 3 Of ‘Never Have I Ever’

Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, the co-creators of the hit “Never Have I Ever,” are not afraid to have tough conversations.

At the Season Three premiere for the teen dramedy in Westwood, California, the writers along with the executive producers spoke to TODAY about “destigmatizing” conversations around mental health and praising love.

Mindy Kaling Taps Reese Witherspoon’s Son For New Role In Season 3 Of ‘Never Have I Ever’

Kaling spoke with the outlet Thursday night on how “destigmatizing (and) seeking help for mental health” have become anchors in the show and overarching themes in the new season.

“We have this 16-year-old girl (Devi, played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) whose father died and (she) is dealing with that grief with Niecy Nash’s character Dr. Ryan,” Kaling explained. “(It) is such an important part of her life. She has friends. She has a mom who loves her.  But being able to go to see and use her therapist as a resource is huge.” 

In the Season Three premiere, Devi visits Dr. Ryan after feeling insecure about her new relationship with Paxton, played by Darren Barnet. During their session, Nash’s character asks, “Did we discover that being in a relationship doesn’t solve all of our problems?” 

Devi wrestles with this very question throughout the season as she struggles to feel confident in her relationship. Fisher said many young folks, particularly young women, can relate to Devi’s insecurities.

“W​​e’re really trying to talk about self confidence and self love,” Fisher said. “And by the end of this season, we want her to realize what she has already is her amazing friends and her relationships and her love and family…She’s already there. She already has everything she could need.”

Ramakrishnan described Devi as “sort of the antihero” in the last two seasons. 

“And this season is gonna be the one where she realizes she needs to get out of the way for herself because she can’t get what she wants and still self-sabotage,” she said. 

Barnet also praise the show for how it tackles real-world problems head-on and said that the genuine writing separates “Never Have I Ever” from other current teen series.   

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“I feel like sometimes when we’re touching on real issues — whether it be race, gender, sexuality, whatever — it’s not something that defines the character that we’re talking about,” he said. “That’s just one facet of them and I think that just reflects real life a little bit more. People can relate to that.” 

One addition to the cast is Anirudh Pisharody, who plays a handsome family friend named Des. He seems to shift Devi’s love triangle with Paxton and Ben (portrayed by Jaren Lewison) into a square. 

And for Kaling, casting Pisharody on the show was huge for her.

“It feels natural in high school for a girl to have crushes on lots of different guys and it was an opportunity for us to showcase a good looking Indian guy on the show, which was important to me,” she shared.

She continued, “It was kind of needed in our community to have a rich, dreamy South Asian guy who was the object of our lead’s emotions.” 

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Fans will also be introduced to a new student named Parker, played by Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe’s 18-year-old son Deacon Phillippe. It will be Deacon’s acting debut. 

Kaling said Witherspoon, who is a close friend, had previously shared that her son was interested in acting. He also happened to be the perfect age to portray a high school character, which made him a great fit for the show. 

The co-creator praised Deacon Phillippe for being funny and talented.

She said, “He’s obviously very handsome and the cast just loved working with him. So we felt really excited to have him on the show.” 

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