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July 18, 2014
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'Sex Tape's' Ellie Kemper just getting started
By Liz Braun, QMI Agency

Cast member Ellie Kemper poses at the premiere of "Sex Tape" in Los Angeles, California July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Just as she is in The Office, 21 Jump Street or Bridesmaids, Ellie Kemper is one of the very best things in Sex Tape, a new comedy starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel.

Diaz and Segel film themselves to spice up their marriage, then inadvertently hand out the sex tape to friends and family via the iCloud. Kemper and Rob Corddry star as a couple who are best friends with the hapless leads.

Have they or haven't they seen the sex tape on their iPad?

You'll have to see the movie to find out.

Kemper's Sex Tape character makes good use of the actress' natural charm.

"I do think the characters I've played so far have leaned to the side of wide-eyed and naive and more innocent," says Kemper.

Unlike a lot of comics, Kemper, 34, seems to have made humour a conscious choice. The actress says she fell in love with comedy at college.

"It happened when I quit the field hockey team. I was 19, and I decided to join the improv comedy team instead. I felt like, 'I adore this, I'm good at this, I could be better at this, and I'd like to keep doing this.' I think that was maybe the first time I'd thought about continuing something after college," she says.

"Although I didn't give much thought to what was going to happen after college," adds the Princeton grad, and she laughs. Kemper swears she was never the class clown or the cutup in her family — "They're all funny in my family," she says.

On the other hand, her husband, TV comedy writer Michael Koman, "Really wanted to be a comedian from the age of 9, or something like that."

Two funny people in one household — you imagine Koman and Kemper making each other laugh all the time. "It doesn't work that way. I always think about that in a family of doctors — that they must be healing each other all the time!" she says, giggling madly. "It's not like that, of course."

Kemper was actually auditioning for Parks and Recreation when she was discovered for The Office. Her career has included a lot of sketch and improv comedy (she was part of Upright Citizens Brigade) and her recent films include They Came Together and Laggies. She has also appeared on TV's The Mindy Project, with fellow Office alumna Mindy Kaling.

Kemper is looking forward to starring in a new TV show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which will air this February. The show is from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock and concerns a young woman who takes on life in New York after being rescued from a cult. Kemper's naive persona makes her a natural for a comedy about a woman to whom so much in life is brand new.

"I'm very excited to do this. It's been a good year, I've worked on projects here and there, but I'm looking forward to the regularity and routine of a TV show — not to mention the people I'll working with, who are total phenoms! So all that makes me very excited," says Kemper. "On top of everything else, we get to shoot it in New York, which is my favourite city in the world."

As for Sex Tape, does Kemper have an opinion on the ubiquitous celebrity shagging selfie?

"This might be my Midwestern upbringing," says the actress, who is from the Kemper banking family of Missouri, "but if you choose to do this thing, it should be kept private as much as you can. In terms of like, promoting your own talent or something, you could be creating something else!” She is laughing again. "Something that maybe tells a story, and has characters."

Twitter: @LizBraunSun

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