07/26/2012 04:29 pm ET

Chris Messina: 'The Mindy Project' Is A 'Whole Other World' For Me

With a rapidly growing resume, including a role "The Newsroom" and lead part in Mindy Kaling's "The Mindy Project," Chris Messina comes off as a bold guy.

But Messina insists that's far from the true of his personality. In fact, Kaling practically had to beg him to star on her show.

"When she first asked, I told her no a bunch of times," Messina told Vulture. "But she kept coming back to me. At first, this guy was named Clayton Brooks, and he was much more uptight, and when I said no, she gave him a different name — Danny Castellano — and a different upbringing and a different personality, and it became impossible to say no ... In 'The Mindy Project' they are all so funny, so it's scary for me."

Messina isn't the only "Mindy Project" star excited about his character. Kaling can't wait to play an exaggerated version of herself in her upcoming series.

"The really fun thing about this character -- which is not unlike Michael Scott in a way -- [is that] she just wants to be a better person. It's so much a part of her life," Kaling said at the Critics Choice Awards this week. "She's a great doctor, hyper-educated, wants to be a good catch, wants to be a better friend, wants to work out and read books -- that's the project. With this woman who's not 21 or 22, she just wants to get her life together."

"The Mindy Project" kicks off on Tues., Sept. 25 at 9:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

For more on Messina, including what it was like to work with Aaron Sorkin, head over to Vulture.