5 Things To Know About Tina Fey & Ellie Kemper's New Comedy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Ellie Kemper tells PEOPLE all about her new show – and what it's like working with her idol
Co-written and produced by Fey, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, stars Kemper in the title role as a woman who has recently been rescued from an underground cult after 15 years. With a bit of rescue cash and a whole lot of hope, she is looking to make it in New York City.
Here are five things Kemper tells PEOPLE about the new comedy:
1. The Name of the Show Used to Be Tooken
An early version of the show had the working title Tooken, which referred to a viral video theme with an Antoine Dodson type auto-tuned voice singing the opening song about the girls being taken or, “tooken.”
“I loved that title, Tooken,” Kemper said at the Del Close Marathon, an improv festival in New York. “I was sad to see it go, but Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is also an amazing title, it’s just longer.”
2. The Show Is About Second Chances
Though Kemper says she still isn’t sure how her character ended up in the cult – it’s still being fleshed out in the writer’s room – the show is about being given a second chance.
“She was able to survive these 15 years because there is a resilience and fierceness that allows her to,” Kemper, 34, says. “And while she is naive and wide-eyed, and sort of delighted to be back in the world again, she also won’t be pushed around or told no.”
3. Kemper Finds Cults ‘Fascinating’
The first episode filmed in March, and won’t start up again until August, so Kemper plans to delve into her character’s background in the meantime.
“I will be doing some cult research over the summer because it is fascinating,” she says.
4. Tina Fey Is Down-to-Earth and Has Great Hair
After getting a call to meet for drinks with Fey, who won’t appear in the show, and co-creator Robert Carlock, Kemper admits she was incredibly nervous to meet someone she had looked up to for years.
“I adore 30 Rock,” she says. “I am a huge fan of hers.” But the actress discovered she had no reason to worry. “She could not be a more welcoming, warmer person with fabulous hair.”
5. The Show Features Broadway Talent
While fans of The Office will surely be clamoring to catch Kemper in her first leading role, she can’t help but gush about one of her costars, who plays Titus (which coincidentally is also his actual name, just without one “s”).
“Tituss Burgess is a fantastic Broadway actor who is also in the show,” she says. “He is so funny and he is such a good singer and he has a very high voice like an angel, and for nothing else you should watch it for that.”