For Tituss Burgess, the end of Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” after four seasons felt like a graduation. He had been taking notes all this time.
“While we were filming and while we were doing the table reads and while we were waiting for them to fix the lights or discussing a line to cut, that was not downtime for me,” Burgess said. “I was, like, at school ... I wanted to make the most of an experience that I didn’t know if I was ever going to have again. I had to stock up and get as much information as I could so I could parlay that experience into other things because I will never wait for anyone to give me a job. Ever.”
The actor reflected on his run as dramatic wannabe star and hilarious roommate Titus (that’s one “s”) Andromedon in the comedy during a recent visit to the L.A. Times video studio. By the show’s end, the character fell in love and learned to care for someone other than himself and became the star he had long hoped to become.
Talking about his character’s trajectory, Burgess unpacked the crux of what he felt held Titus Andromedon back all this time.
“When people are closeted, who don’t come out, who are repressed, suppressed — all of the esseds,” he began, “it offsets an imbalance in how you move about the Earth. You move into fight-or-flight mode, survival mode. I think when we met Titus, he was in survival mode. And it is hard to learn how to not be in survival mode. And your every decision is just to stay alive … The way the world met him is who he ever really was. It was protection. And subsequently, worrying about someone else or allowing space for someone else to have an experience that was not selfish or self-satisfying was out of the realm of possibility…. I think falling in love was the best cure.”
The series, which follows the title character, played by Ellie Kemper, as she adjusts to the outside world after 15 years of captivity in a bunker, ended in January. But executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock hinted they had an idea for a stand-alone movie. That plan morphed into something more adventurous with the recent announcement that the show’s quirky characters — Kimmy (Kemper), Titus (Burgess), Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) and Lillian (Carol Kane) will return for an interactive special that will start production soon and premiere next year.
“I have not read it,” Burgess said, referring to the script for the interactive special. “I don’t know what we’re doing … [but] with the help of my friends, I think we will have a wonderful time.”
Beyond that, Burgess is ready to move on to other characters and other projects, including working on a musical stage adaptation of “The Preacher’s Wife.” So don’t hold out hope for a Titus Andromedon spinoff.
“I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t think it’s wise,” Burgess said. “There’s so much in me that I am deeply desirous of sharing with the world … it’s almost like I have to guide those who know me, convincing them that I am just as interesting as Titus Andromedon. So, were a spinoff proposed, I would say no. But also, he was so full and present. Without my gorgeous costars, there would be nothing for him to do, to play off of.”
To watch the full conversation, check out the video below.