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Ellie Kemper’s ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ makes a difference by series finale

The Netflix comedy’s star talks about a reaction to her character’s book and notes, “I think of one of the goals of the book is to help boys not grow up to be creeps.”

Ellie Kemper still gets emotional thinking about where the titular character she plays on Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” finds herself at the series’ end.

The actress visited the L.A. Times video studio recently to look back on the comedy’s final season. Created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” deftly followed Kemper’s cheery character as she adjusted to the outside world after 15 years of captivity in a bunker. By the series’ end, viewers learn that the “K.C. Schmidt” novels the character has penned have become the inspiration for a new theme park. While at the ribbon-cutting for the “Greemulax” roller coaster ride, a little boy thanks Kimmy for her books because “they make me feel safe.”

“When the little boy tells Kimmy that her books make him feel safe, I got goosebumps,” Kemper said, trying her best not to get teary. “I felt so lucky that I got to play this character who made a concrete difference in the world.”

“All Kimmy seeks to do,” Kemper continued, “is to make the world a better place. She doesn’t blame anyone for the horrific things that have happened to her … she continues to move forward despite all that. And remains steadfast in her mission to improve the world. And she does just that. She writes this bestselling book. One of the goals of the book is to help boys not to grow up to be creeps. And she accomplishes that.”

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“He is just a prince among men,” she says of her high school instructor-turned-“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” costar.

Admittedly an overly sentimental person, Kemper said the busy shooting schedule for the final episode didn’t leave too much room to absorb the finality of it all — save, of course, for the sloppy Joe helping at craft service. She did manage to take home some sentimental items, such as Kimmy’s light-up shoes and a needlepoint from one of her fellow “mole women” from the bunker that read, “Someday” — as in, there’s hope they would someday return to the outside world.

The end of hanging out with the show’s cast and crew is an emotional thing. “It’s a very high-profile, high-intensity camp. It does feel like a loss,” Kemper says.

But it’s not totally over. Netflix announced last month that an interactive “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” special was in the works and will premiere in 2020.

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Elsewhere in the conversation, Kemper talked about being part of ABC’s recent “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” a prime-time event that paid tribute to classic sitcoms “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” and what it was like to reunite onscreen with her former high school drama teacher Jon Hamm.

Watch the full conversation by clicking the video below:

The “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” star says, “It was so instructive to play this character who just is much stronger than I am in real life and much more optimistic and selfless.”

yvonne.villarreal@latimes.com

Twitter: @villarrealy


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