Ellie Kemper hits the trail in Netflix’s ‘Happiness for Beginners’


Ellie Kemper is trying to find herself in the new Netflix movie Happiness for Beginners, and one of the places she’s looking is in the woods.

The movie debuts Wednesday, July 26, and Kemper’s character goes on a wilderness retreat, looking for a challenge. Before the start of the SAG-AFTRA strike, she told ABC Audio that her character, “Helen with an H,” “is trying to move through a very challenging chapter in her life. She’s going through a divorce. She is not feeling good, and I think she needs something to shake up her routine.”

It’s not such a crazy idea according to Kemper, who notes, “There’s something that immediately bonds you when you’re out in the wilderness with a group. Because you’re all facing the same elements, you’re all facing the same obstacles, you know, Oh, the pot won’t boil, it’s starting to rain and you all have to figure out how to move through it. So I think that’s really powerful.”

And, for the record, this isn’t the first time Kemper has been out in nature for a job — she got her Screen Actors Guild card shooting a commercial for K-Mart.

“They were having a sale on tents and the like, I don’t know, comic relief of the commercial was a tarantula crawling on my face! A real tarantula!” she recalls. “… And I think it was to sell the idea that if you’re in a tent, a tarantula can’t get in. So buy a tent.”

The New York City-based actress chose a calmer setting for her most recent hike — the North woods of Central Park.

“It really is an oasis,” she shares. ” … In the middle of this, you know, busy, frantic, crazy city … there’s this place where you can be still.”

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