Ellie Kemper, star of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, at a recent Emmy Awards promotional event for the show at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in Hollywood, talked around the question from reporters as to who would portray her mother in the upcoming episodes of the show.
She talked about Joan Cusack playing her mother in The Office and whimsically thought the part should be played by her own, real-life mother.
What’s known thus far is that the mother, who will debut in Season Two of the hit Netflix sitcom, is not yet cast.
Kemper mentioned that her character’s mother is somewhat inattentive and had not been very involved in Kimmy’s life. She added that she expects the resultant sadness surrounding their non-relationship to be dealt with “humorously.”
For the speculation’s sake, I thought I would offer up a list of potential candidates.
Feel free to add your own choices in the comments section.
Julianne Moore: Though quite prolific in drama, her versatility extends to comedy and television.
She played Nancy Donovan, the girlfriend of Jack Donaghy, in five episodes of 30 Rock and she would fit in the age range to play the mother and she and Ellie Kemper share a stunning physical trait…identical hair color.
Moore is a very busy actress but since the role would be of a guest starring nature it is likely she could crowbar it in to her schedule.
Carrie Fisher: The right look, the right comedic chops, the right amount of natural eccentricity and familiar to the powers that be thanks to her guest starring role on 30 Rock as Rosemary Howard, a bat crap nuts writer. The part earned her an Emmy nomination.
Megan Mullally: Another actress with a 30 Rock guest-starring role in her past so she’s known to the Kimmy Schmidt producers. Further pushing the case for her was her wonderful work as the highly self-involved Karen Walker on Will and Grace. She has great comic timing and energy.
Amy Poehler: Just a bit too young to play the mother of a woman in her thirties but with imagination and a bit of makeup, it just might work. Being the BFF and past collaborator of show creator Tina Fey works in her favor. Bit of a long shot.
Amy Yasbeck: Like Ms. Moore, Amy has amazing red hair. She also has great comedic timing and has a great resume of comedy of funny performances, most notably as the unbelievably self-centered Casey Chapel on Wings.
She hasn’t acted much in recent years so her profile is rather low, which could work against her.
Edie Falco: The right age range and the right versatility along with a guest starring role on 30 Rock as one of Jack Donaghy’s girlfriends, for which she received an Emmy Award nomination. Edie Falco has the right stuff to be Kimmy Schmidt’s birth mother.
Amy Sedaris: A talented actress in a believable age range and with the right amount of eccentric comedic energy to play off of Ellie Kemper. Like many on this speculative list, Ms. Sedaris is another alum guest star of 30 Rock though hers was a rather small role. She even has a range of looks from being flat out pretty to downright dowdy so she could easily look the part.
Jane Lynch: Extremely adept at being bright, articulate but highly caustic, Ms. Lynch is a bit of dark horse whom you can’t favor but can’t rule out.
Kerry Kenney-Silver: A bit young to play Ellie Kemper’s mother but she has the right amount of nut case energy with a lengthy resume in sketch and improv comedy. She has the chops for the part but isn’t of a high enough profile to be on the producers radar.
Wendy McLendon-Covey: Though busy with The Goldbergs, Ms. Covey has an extensive improv background and is of a certain level of profile that ought to put her on the producer’s radar.
My personal opinion is that Julianne Moore is being heavily considered but that the role will go to Megan Mullally.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt films season two this summer and the new episodes will air sometime in early 2016.