Celebrity Scoop: Ellie Kemper

Perhaps playing a character in the strange office of Dunder Mifflin could make someone run from the secular world and turn to a quiet life of prayer.

Before becoming Erin on NBC's "The Office," however, Ellie Kemper considered becoming a nun.

"For a long phase, I wanted to be a nun because 'The Sound of Music' was my favorite movie," she says. "I am a Catholic, but it is a better fit that I am not a nun."

Kemper, who looks younger than her 30 years, has a serious bent. She studied English at Princeton and wrote her thesis on "irony right after 9/11. I managed to bring in 'The Daily Show' and Letterman."

Mostly she studied Oscar Wilde and turned her talents to improv, which she found in her sophomore year, and quickly realized, "Wow this is something I can do!" she says. "I was interested in getting better and better at it."

From there it was an intense summer of improvisation in Chicago, and after school, Kemper came to New York.

"I'm having a reunion with New York," she says from Manhattan during a recent break from the show. "I couldn't say a bad thing about it. I love that I can walk everywhere. Everyone does something different, a lawyer, a plumber, an opera singer. Nobody cares about what you do.

"And the seasons," she continues, listing why she prefers the East Coast to the West. "Hikes? I can hike to Columbus Avenue. In L.A., I sit in traffic, and I feel depressed. It is the worst. You are helpless; you can't read."

Still, there is much for her in Los Angeles, namely a part on one of TV's biggest comedies. Despite coming onto the show at the end of the fifth season, Kemper says everyone in the close-knit cast was welcoming.

"Once 'The Office' is over or I get killed off or whatever, I have an idea for another TV series," she says.