Ellie Kemper on Being the 'Next Mindy Kaling' and Steve Carell's Office Replacement
Within the past two years, Ellie Kemper has gone from a regular UCB performer to a series regular on The Office with a book deal and feature film roles in Sofia Coppola's Somewhere and the Kristen Wiig-penned Bridesmaids. It has been a meteoric rise Kemper was happy to modestly recount with Movieline this week at NBC's TCA event -- before diving into those Steve Carell replacement rumors and revealing the sisterly bond she shares with one of The Office's writers.
What was your biggest fear coming onto The Office two seasons ago?
I just didn't want to rock the boat or mess anyone up because it's such a well-oiled machine. They all know what they're doing. But it was a really easy transition because they are really nice people.
What was the immediate reaction from Office fans and do you think fans' feelings for you changed during the sixth season?
I am so sensitive that I can't read anything that fans say. Nobody that I did hear from was hateful about it. I didn't hear any bad things but maybe that's just because I tried not to.
I've read what you've written for The Onion and McSweeney's. Do you have any plans on becoming the next Mindy Kaling of the cast and writing -- maybe eventually producing -- episodes?
No, I am not writing any episodes. In fact, my sister just got hired as a writer so she'll take care of the writing. Carrie Kemper is writing, but I have no plans to write for the show. I think they're all doing a very good job and I'll leave them to it.
And The Office just hired Amelie Gillette who used to write "The Hater" column for The A.V. Club, which is owned by The Onion. Had you known her when you were writing for The Onion?
Yes, Amelie! I had met her a couple times through Onion stuff in New York and now she's with us and it's awesome.
What is coming up for Erin next season?
I actually don't really know. We just finished the first week. [Distracted] Is there smoking allowed on the roof? Sorry.
I don't know why there would be.
I don't know why there would be either. I almost want to say something, but I don't know what to say. Anyway, sorry. I don't know too much about what is coming up and I'm glad. There will obviously be a lot of focus on Michael Scott, especially because it's his last year. Maybe he revisits some romances and stuff, but as for my character, I don't really know what they are going to do.
[NBC's Executive of Primetime Programming] Angela Bromstad mentioned that producers have an idea of who they want to replace Michael. Does the cast hear any of those rumors?
I have no idea, no.
Who would you like to see take over?
As an outsider or an insider?
You know what, I love the character of Ryan. This would never happen but I would get a kick out of seeing him in charge. Actually, maybe Darryl. He seems like a viable option. He's already ascended within the company. I think it's very plausible that he might be the next boss, just from stuff I've read. Maybe that will be the case, but my guess is as good as anyone's.
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