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Carol Kane Talks Lillian, Love, and Beyonce on ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

Carol Kane teases Season 3 of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: “I get to have fun being a supporting character in the Lemonade homage. That was really hysterical.”

Carol Kane is no stranger to TV and film as her career spans over 30 years. A new and younger generation of fans enjoy her work as the quirky, but devilishly fun, Lillian on Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I caught up with Kane just before she was heading off to France for a break. Read our fun interview below.

What was it like returning back for season three?

It’s thrilling. As the season goes on, everyone’s character goes into deeper and complicated areas of their lives. Our relationships are deepening, and the humor gets more outlandish. For me, it’s a privilege to be part of it because the writing is so great, and for me, 90 percent of everything is the writing and then my co-stars who are so brilliant. It’s really just the four of us and we’re this amazing little group, and we have these guest stars who keep dropping in. It’s a pretty wonderful place to be.

This season we see Lillian fight for her cause and concern about gentrification. Where do we see her go?

Lillian is running for office because someone put it to me at the end of Season 2 that if I really care that much about saving the character of my neighborhood and I really care about the individuality of all our lives in that neighborhood, that I should just get up there and make it official. So, I’m doing that. In doing that, I’m meeting my new very unexpected love interest.

Ooooh.

They’re very much my opposite, and we start our relationship by really fighting about everything and me thinking that he’s a useless person and a rich snob. Things completely change and evolve over the season in a very exciting way for Lilian. I did have to break up with Bobby Durst which made me very sad on many levels. I really treasured working with Fred Armisen, but I have a feeling that nothing lasts forever and perhaps he’ll be swinging back around.

I get to have fun with being a supporting character in the Lemonade homage, and that was really hysterical. I loved the physical comedy, and Tina and Robert have a great eye for that and writing it in a great way.

It is Tituss who will be wearing the gold dress. For the record, it’s him wearing the dress, not me, in case you got mixed up at some point. [Laughs]

That was utterly brilliant.

Wasn’t it amazing?

It’s his moment, and there’s Lillian bopping along in the background. I have never laughed so hard. Did you have fun doing it?

Oh my god, how could I not have fun? It definitely qualifies as one of those moments where you think to yourself, “I hope they don’t figure out how much fun this is otherwise they’re going to start making me pay them.”

That’s great. That’s something that’s so much fun, Lillian and Tituss. What is it like now for you going to set?

The thing is we are all extremely different personalities and ages, but we really enjoy each other a lot. Probably because we’re all so different, makes it such a stimulating place to be. Our backgrounds are so different, but it’s so wonderful. When we get to do Season 4, hopefully, Ellie’s little boy can come to the set too because she had her baby, and we have this nursery set up. Hopefully, he’ll be supervising on Season 4.

Will we get to see more of Lillian’s story this season?

I think we will learn more about her. You’ll have to see what happens. I can’t say too much.What do you young people call it?

A spoiler?

A spoiler! I can’t give those away. [Laughs]

They get mad if you do those and give spoilers.

They do. I don’t want to get my little fingers slapped. I have rings on my fingers and that would really hurt.

That’s torture. How much of you is in Lillian?

She’s so much braver than I am. She just says what comes into her head, and she doesn’t care if it makes people mad, if it upsets them or whatever it is. It just comes out with no censorship buttons. She’s very passionate, and so am I about the things I believe in. I think I care a lot more about what other people think about me. With Lillian, I don’t think it enters her mind unless it’s in a romantic way.

I think she loves who she loves, and she loves Kimmy and Tituss. She has a love/hate relationship with Jane’s character. She loves Bobby, and she’ll love a new man this season, and that’s a given. What she fights against, she will do what it takes to win. She has a conscience about other people, but she’s not afraid to get in the dirt and mix it up.

How is the experience of working on the show for you and the Netflix model compared to doing network TV?

It’s very different because with the regular network TV, it was always 22-25 episodes and we just do 13 episodes. Nothing is seen until everything is edited and put together and seen on the same day. I feel in terms of how the public seems to experience it, I feel we’re even more in people’s homes and familiar to people than the network model because they can watch it anytime they want. They can revisit the story and find different things in it anytime.

There’s so much support for it. When I go to the movies, the grocery store, I see people and I hear from them about how much they love us. It’s such a wonderful feeling, feeling that people have your back.

What do you feel it is that people love about this show?

The writing is brilliant. They’re so fast and the references are in the popular vernacular are in the script before they’re even out there. Half the time, I don’t know what I’m saying, and I don’t think I’m alone. We’ll say something, and we’ll get a laugh and wander around asking each other if we know what we’re saying because it’s so up to date that it’s almost ahead of time. I think the fact that we’re misfits in some way but have this strong love and support for each other. I think that we’re all struggling with something. That’s not glossed over in the show and is another thing that people can relate to.

You know how they say, “You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends?” I think that’s the great thing about Kimmy. It’s this really unexpected band who have become family even though there’s no reason why they should be getting along in the way they get along because they come from such different backgrounds. I think people relate to that.

Will you be in more musical numbers?

I hope so. I love to sing me a duet with my Tituss even though one of us can sing and one of us can’t. I don’t want you to guess right now which one of us can sing and which one of us can’t. I love to sing with him and play with him. I also get to sing with Fred, but I didn’t do too much singing in Season 3, but hopefully, I do more in Season 4.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 3 starts streaming on Netflix this Friday, May 19.