Last week, Tituss Burgess received his fifth Emmy nomination for playing Titus Andromedon on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” — but this one is in completely new category. After four bids in comedy supporting actor, Burgess will go for his first career win in limited/TV movie supporting actor, where he’s contending with the Netflix series’ interactive special “Kimmy vs. the Reverend.”
The movie comes on the heels of Netflix’s Emmy-winning “Black Mirror” interactive special “Bandersnatch,” of which Burgess saw a bit as it was being put together. “I had never seen a program that was an interactive special, a choose-your-own-adventure if you will, so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. I saw a little slither of ‘Bandersnatch.’ It didn’t affect how I felt about what we were about to do. It just felt like we were filming a movie that has 900 endings,” Burgess told Gold Derby with a laugh earlier this spring (watch above).
Set three days before Kimmy’s (Ellie Kemper) wedding to Prince Frederick (Daniel Radcliffe), the film finds Kimmy trying to rescue another group of girls that that Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) had kidnapped in 2003. Titus tags along instead of going to shoot his film “Explosion Man.” The various endings and options meant lots and lots of takes for almost every scene, and as you might expect, it wasn’t easy keeping them straight the whole time.
“Depending on the location, that would dictate what we shot and how many versions of it, and sometimes we would cross-shoot. The blocking would be the same, but the scene would be different. It was very confusing,” Burgess explained. “But Claire Scanlon is a wonderful, wonderful director and she kept that train on track. With that many different versions and trying to put the puzzle together, it could’ve easily gone off the rails. She would remind Ellie and I where we were in the story, but there were a couple of times where Ellie and I got our wires crossed and we were in two different scenes. Both of us thought we were in the other scene. That made for some funny outtakes.”
There were some scenes that were very easy for the star to do. “Watching myself take a nap, which is something I’m very talented at,” Burgess said of his favorite moment. “And also rolling around eating that sandwich. The whole thing, actually, was a blast.”
While “Kimmy vs. the Reverend” is ostensibly the period on the four-season comedy, Burgess does not rule out another interactive special down the line. “With the way they structured the story, darting back and forth between time periods — obviously in the bunker and present day — and then this interactive special, I think, starts five years later, I would say there’s every chance that another one of these could maybe happen,” he mused. “Who knows?”
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