Once again, Jane Krakowski faces winding down a beloved show. In this case, Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” completed its final season this year, though it’s due to come back next year with a one-off “interactive special.”
“I don’t think it ever gets easier, to be honest with you, and I’ve even actually done it with these same people, with these same creators, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock,” she said during an interview with writer Yvonne Villarreal at the the Times video studio.
“I’d say at least 80% of our crew is all the same from ‘30 Rock’ to ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.’ And it wasn’t any easier. I felt I was lucky enough for lightning to strike twice, that I got to work with that same group of people twice. The probability gets harder and harder for it to happen a third time, so to me it felt even a little bit, maybe more final.”
On “Kimmy,” Krakowski’s Jacqueline White struggled through a series of ill-fated romantic entanglements before finding apparently real love with a rival talent agent with a secret. Typical of Jacqueline, though, she took an odd route to the destination. In a weird competitive moment, she and the suave, arrogant Eli Rubin (Zachary Quinto) find themselves in a battle of wills: doing wall squats while having a conversation, refusing to be the first to stand upright.
“That was one of the true times when I had trouble getting through the scene because Zachary had to leave [the scene] in that position,” she said of Eli having to inch his way all the way out of the room with his legs bent and his back pressed against the wall. “The studio is very large on that set. So committed, amazing.
“I was sore the next day; I couldn’t really walk downstairs …
“It was good fun, we actually laughed a lot through that one. His clicking” — Eli turns out to be blind, using tongue clicks as an echolocation device — “you know, the whole twist of the revelation of his disability is just so hilarious to me and of course what Jacqueline needed to find real love because she wasn’t being judged on what she looked like: it was who she was and her talent at something.”
That someone loved her for who she was inside was actually a meaningful twist, considering her character’s controversial roots (blond, blue-eyed Jacqueline had transformed herself physically in hatred of her Native American heritage).
“I think Jacqueline spent so much of her time and so much of her life trying to be something else, from being Native American to thinking the only way she could make it is to be blond and white and having a rich husband. So I personally found it touching for her as well because it made her a much fuller person and she finally got what she was looking for, even though it came in an unexpected package,” said Krakowski.
It helped the sadness of the series ending to know that the upcoming special was a possibility: “I’m happy that we are going to get that opportunity to reprise these characters and all get to play together again.”
To see the entire interview, click on the video below.