Ellie Kemper teases The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt special and Drew Barrymore movie


The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Ellie Kemper sat down with Hidden Remote to talk about the show’s final season, it’s upcoming interactive special, and her new film brawl with Drew Barrymore.

In any role she plays, Ellie Kemper always radiates an aura of childish charm and fantastically awkward humor. Whether she’s Erin in The Office, Becca in Bridesmaids, or that red-head girl in the Clearatol commercial, Kemper’s genuine smile both on and off the camera is quick to steal hearts. But her most beloved character by far has been her latest, four-year-long television role starring as Kimmy Schmidt in Netflix’s original series, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

The comedy series, created by Robert Carlock and Tina Fey, follows an adult Kimmy, recently rescued from the cult leader who kidnapped her and kept her underground in a bunker for over a decade. As the newly released Kimmy tries to adapt to life in the real world with the help of her flamboyant roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), her motherly landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane) and her eccentric, beyond rich employer Jacqueline White (Jane Krakowski), she finds that the humor and lighthearted attitude which kept her going in the bunker still serves her well above ground.

While the show’s Season 4 came to a close in January, the cast has just finished filming one last segment of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt—a surprise, untitled, interactive special set to release in 2020.

In this exclusive interview, Kemper teases some sneak peeks about the special, her favorite moments from wrapping up the Kimmy Schmidt series, and her violent, on-screen fight with Drew Barrymore’s upcoming film, The Stand-In.

Hidden Remote: Now, this season isn’t just about the holidays, it’s the time you just recently wrapped up Season 4 of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I’m curious, after four years being on that show, how does it feel to have that wrap up and be done with it?

Ellie Kemper: It’s bittersweet. We got to do an interactive special over the summer, filming sort of one final hurrah. Interactive special means you get to choose your own adventure so the viewer can decide what they want the characters to do. Every five minutes or so there’s a choice point where you can watch Titus take a nap or go to the gym, and the story continues down whichever path you choose.

But it was really nice to come together one last time. It was a short shoot we did…it was nice. We’re actually friends on that show, the cast and the crew. So, you’re always sad when a project like that ends. You’re excited for the next thing, whatever that might be, but of course, it’s sad because everyone on that show is very nice, which is rare I think.

UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT — Eric Liebowitz/Netflix — Acquired via Netflix Media Center
UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT — Eric Liebowitz/Netflix — Acquired via Netflix Media Center /

Hidden Remote: And how does that interactive aspect of it work, where people get to choose what they see next?

Kemper: You use your remote, so you’re sitting there and you’re watching the show and you are very actively involved in whatever course you want the episode to take. Black Mirror did an episode like this and I think Kimmy Schmidt is the first comedy to try it…I haven’t seen the finished version yet but I’m very excited.

It was really hard to keep everything in order when we were filming it…there’s just so many different tracks you could take. So, I’ll be excited to see the finished product.

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Hidden Remote: That’s really cool. What are some of your favorite moments from filming this last season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? Every season was an interesting take on the story and I can imagine that, after what you just said, that you guys are like a family so I be there were some really fun moments both on and off the screen. 

Kemper: Yeah, there’s a lot of moments. I think the people you work with, they define any experience that you’re having. You know, it was really fun with Tituss this past round because we knew this was going to be the last Kimmy Schmidt project we’d be working on. A lot of my scenes are with Tituss on this interactive special and we just get each other. We did from day one.

We didn’t know that the interactive special was necessarily going to happen so to have a chance to work together one last time, in this capacity, was really special. He just makes me laugh. He’s so funny. He’s stupid, but funny. I mean “stupid” like he’s great.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Tituss Burgess, Ellie Kemper. Photo: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix. Acquired via Netflix Media Center.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Tituss Burgess, Ellie Kemper. Photo: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix. Acquired via Netflix Media Center. /

Hidden Remote: Now that it’s wrapped up and you got the interactive special coming up, how is this project (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) unique from anything else you’ve done? Because you’ve done a lot of comedy in the past. 

Kemper: I think it’s so incredible that Tina Fey and Robert Carlock made this show where the central premise of the show is that a young woman is kidnapped and kept underground in a bunker for 15 years and then emerges to make a go of her life. With this incredibly dark backdrop, they were able to make a comedy and I feel like that’s different from the other projects I’ve worked on in that this combines tragedy and comedy in such a unique way.

I was worried, you know. How does this work? How can you make something so serious also funny. And because [Fey and Carlock] are brilliant, they were able to write a show that does just that.

It’s about moving forward after something terrible happens. That’s what happens to all of us, you have to keep moving forward. That’s what distinguished it from other projects I’ve worked on, being a comedy with such a dark premise.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Photo: Netflix
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Photo: Netflix /

Hidden Remote: And this upcoming year you have a new project coming up, The Stand-In. Can you talk a little about that?

Kemper: Oh yes. We filmed that last winter almost. It’s a movie staring the inevitable Drew Barrymore and I had a very small part in it, but I am so thrilled to have had the chance to work on it with her. Basically, Drew is playing two characters: a movie star, and the movie star’s stand-in. So, it was incredible to watch her do this. I was only there a few days but I can’t wait to see the finished product of that as well. It was a lot of fun.

Hidden Remote: What was the part you played in that movie?

Kemper: I played a co-star. I don’t want to give anything away, but Drew sort of loses her temper with this co-star and there may have been some physical violence. I also get to play some comedy in the part so that was ncie.

Hidden Remote: But you got to get into a fight with Drew Barrymore. Not everyone gets to say that. 

Kemper: No! Peace out, I’m done. That’s as good as it’s going to get. Yeah, that was amazing.

Hidden Remote: Do you have any other projects coming up that people should look out for?

Kemper: No, I don’t. We’re figuring out what’s next. I had a baby a few months ago, so right now I’ve been in a little cocoon with that. So, we’ll see. I’m excited to see what’s next.

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Are you looking forward to seeing more of Ellie Kemper as Kimmy? What are some of your favorite episodes from previous seasons? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Ellie Kemper will be in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt interactive special on Netflix in 2020.