It's a long way from New York's concrete comedy canyons of 30 Rock to the Middle East absurdity of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. But that's where Fey, 45, is headed March 4 in her new movie, in which she stars as a journalist sent to Kabul who gets caught up in the adrenaline rush of her assignment.

How would you describe your role? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an adaptation of a book called The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker. I play a woman who goes abroad at a time when journalists were stretched thin. Anyone who wasn't married or didn't have kids could get a chance to go work abroad.

How much has your sense I of humor changed since the s beginning of your career? s I'm a little older now, and I'm a mother. I wouldn't say it is necessarily gentler, but it is more human, more emotional than it used to be.

Did you base the characters in the hit Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which you created and executive produce, on real people? The series was in a lot of ways inspired by its star, Ellie Kemper. Robert Carlock and I were asked to develop a show for Ellie, and so we thought a lot about her qualities. We were certainly aware that there's a certain type of woman, both infiction and nonfiction, that you see over and over again-this kind of ebullient young woman who survived something awful and comes out the other side still optimistic.

Do you binge-watch anything? I do sometimes. Now that we're done fi lming season two of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I will have some time. I just started watching Aziz Ansari's show, Master of None [Netfl ix].

Will Fey make an appearance this season on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? Go to to find out.

Joan Allen was great in the movie Room. Did she reach out to mothers of kidnap victims to research her role?

— Jenny P., Abilene, Texas

A: No, but Allen, 59, recently acclaimed for her role in Room as a mother reunited with her kidnapped daughter, says she can only imagine what it must feel like to have a child go missing. "I've been in a mall when my daughter was little and I look around and within a fl ash she's not there," says the actress, who also plays a mother whose child was kidnapped in ABC's The Family, premiering its first season March 3.

I've heard Jason Bateman is giving up acting for directing. Is that true?

— Will L., Monrovia, Calif.

A: Defi nitely not. Bateman, 47, wants to do it all. At 19 he directed three episodes of TV's The Hogan Family. He recently directed the movie comedy Bad Words and the drama The Family Fang (in which he also starred). And he voices the fast-talking scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde, in Disney's animated caper movie Zootopia, opening March 4. "I'd like [my career] to be like George Clooney's or Ben Affl eck's as far as splitting the time between acting and directing," he says.

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