Jane Krakowski: From '30 Rock' to 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Jane Krakowski worked alongside Tina Fey in 30 Rock and now stars in Fey's new Netflix comedy, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Jane spoke recently on her role as Jacqueline Vorhees--the woman for whom Kimmy Schmidt (played by The Office's Ellie Kemper) nannies after being held captive for years by a cult leader. How does Vorhees differ from Jane Krakowski's 30 Rock role as Jenna Maroney? Are the roles the same or completely different?

"I’ve always approached them very differently, and it was certainly conscious on Tina and Robert Carlock’s agenda to make them as different as possible," Jane Krakowski says of the two roles. "At first I was taken aback when people were saying that, because I find the characters so different at their core and in their heart, and I think also because I shot all 13 episodes and I know where this character grows. But in the first few episodes, I see why people would feel that way, especially in the beginning, before you learn more about her. But as I say, I’ve never approached them the same. There’s a vulnerability to Jacqueline that Jenna never had an ounce of on 30 Rock, so I find that they come from very different places."

"Tina said to me—which was good to learn after 30 Rock had finished filming—was that at her core, Jenna was a horrible person and Jacqueline is not," Krakowski adds. "It was good for me to learn that in hindsight after all of the seasons of 30 Rock! But I do think the characters are very different. The sense of humor is written by the same creators and the comedy has the same tone and pace as 30 Rock, and since I’m associated with both, I think people will naturally put that together."

Tina Fey obviously saw something very valuable in Jane Krakowski in order to give her the part of Jacqueline Vorhees on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt--even though the role was created and Krakowski dropped into it at the very last minute. In a like manner, Jane Krakowski no doubt saw something spectacular in Tina Fey's new creation, and realized that even if she was an afterthought, it was no doubt a good one.

Are these two ladies a guaranteed comedy mix--even if Krakowski's two roles differ so greatly? The only thing they really have in common is that each plays (or played) off the lead role--Jenna Maroney off Tina Fey's Liz Lemon and Jacqueline Vorhees off Ellie Kemper's Kimmy Schmidt. Will what worked so well once work well again?

Jane Krakowski earned four Emmy nods for her role as Jenna Maroney. Might she find herself reaping similar nominations in her role as Jacqueline Vorhees, too?

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is available on Netflix now. Will you be checking out Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski in their latest roles?

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.