Mindy Kaling and James Franco Mindy Kaling and James Franco

James Franco checks in for the first two episodes of the Fox comedy The Mindy Project playing Dr. Paul Leotard, a model-turned-ob-gyn who joined the office following Mindy's (Mindy Kaling) missionary trip to Haiti at the end of last season.

"He has firmly established himself as the most popular doctor at the practice," says exec producer Jack Burditt. "So when Mindy returns and wants everything to go back to normal, he is a huge obstacle in her way."

Franco's appearance on Sept. 17 kicks off a long line of guest stars this season, including Justified's Timothy Olyphant, Happy Endings' Adam Pally and indie rock band The National. "I tried very hard, but probably failed, not to come off as superstalkery," says Burditt. "It's exciting!"

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