Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Kristin Chenoweth

The Family Weekend star also talks film vs. Broadway and why she's drawn to dark comedies.

by | March 28, 2013 | Comments

Kristin Chenoweth first made a dent in the public consciousness as Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked, a Broadway smash about the early years of the The Wizard of Oz witches. Since then, she’s maintained a healthy career in television, earning praise for her performances in The West Wing, Pushing Daisies, and Glee. She’s even become a staple at awards shows, either as a host or, in the case of the 2013 Oscars, as a red carpet interviewer and performer.

In Family Weekend, opening Friday in limited release, Chenoweth plays the snarky mother of a high-achieving teenager who takes her parents hostage to protest their indifference to her life. In an interview with RT, Chenoweth shared her favorite movies, and discussed the differences between working on the stage and screen and why she’s drawn to dark comedies.


Steel Magnolias (Herbert Ross, 1989; 65% Tomatometer)



Okay, Steel Magnolias. I have six aunts, and they’re all like my mom, and they’re all insane, but in a good way. That movie makes me think of them. And I’m also Southern, so it’s like, “Mmm, I get it.”

The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994; 90% Tomatometer)



I love Shawshank Redemption. Whenever it’s on, I have to watch it. I think it’s so well written and so well done. I love the story.

Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, 1993; 97% Tomatometer)



I’m kind of a weirdo; I love prison movies and war movies, which leads me into Schindler’s List. I think it really captured a moment in time that we aren’t proud of as a human race, and I just think [Steven] Spielberg knocked it out of the park.

Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009; 88% Tomatometer)



I like Inglourious Basterds; it’s another one of my top movies. I love [Quentin] Tarantino, and I don’t want to say I like violence, but I’m kind of like a dude in a lot of ways.

The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965; 84% Tomatometer)



What was the other one I always watch when it’s on? Oh, this is dorky… This says everything about who I am: The Sound of Music. It’s just my favorite movie musical, and, I mean, it’s the reason I wanted to become a singer and an actress, was because of Julie Andrews and the Von Trapps. That kind of pretty much explains who I am, which is one big fat dichotomy.

RT: It’s kind of cheesy in a lot of ways, but you can’t help loving it. I always get excited during the part where the nuns have sabotaged the Nazis’ car.

KC: They have, like, the carburetor and… [laughs] The nuns are actually some of my favorite parts. I love it. I can’t help it. I just can’t help it.



Next, Chenowith talks about her new film, the differences of working in film and on stage, and why she’s drawn to dark comedies.

RT: What attracted you to Family Weekend?

KC: Well, I was doing a Broadway show, Promises, Promises, and I got a script. It was about, basically, in a nutshell, parents who’ve sort of lost their priorities a little bit, and their teenage daughter kidnaps them to get their attention. So it’s extreme, and it’s [about] a family, and it’s a dark comedy, which I like. What I liked the most about it was the evolution of not just my part, but the family as a whole, and how they come back to what they used to be. It’s a bit of a crazy tactic, but there’s consequences to pay at the end, too, and I think that’s important to show. You can’t just, like, “Oh, I did this crazy wacky thing, and I’m not going to be held accountable.” I just thought it was really funny and cute, and I was looking for something like that to do, and I did it.

RT: Looking through your filmography, you seem to have a thing for dark farces.

KC: Well, you know, I think to play something that’s so not like you is obviously challenging and fun. Playing yourself… You know, I play myself when I do concert work and I tape my material and I’m just “Kristi,” you know? But taking roles, I’m going to look for something that’s probably not “the girl next door” because it’s too on the money. Even when I play “the girl next door,” there something a little off about them, and I enjoy that. Even when I look back at Pushing Daisies, you know, I was literally “the girl next door,” but she was… interesting. Certainly the role in Glee and The West Wing and GCB, they’re not the norm, and I guess there’s part of me that doesn’t feel… I’ve always been a little bit — it seems weird to say — a bit of an outsider, in a way? Yeah, so I can relate to that. I am a comedian, and I do like the comedy aspect, but I play dramatic roles, too. I think for now, all I can tell you is I’m looking for good parts, just like everybody else, and things that challenge me. So that’s what I do.

RT: If someone held a gun to your head and said, “You can only do Broadway. You can only do movies. You have to pick something,” what would you choose? Do you consider yourself a Broadway person first, and TV and movie person second?

KC: I definitely got my start [on Broadway]. It’s always funny to me when I’m in a mall and somebody will come up and go, “I didn’t know you sang!” I crack up, and I’m like, “What?” [laughs] But if I had to… I don’t want to [choose], because I really am about each part, I’m about the character. I’m more about that than anything, even the vocal. You know, I was more about playing Glinda in Wicked than I was getting to sing all the different styles. [But] I would have to say Broadway. I love live theater; I like the relationship between the show and the audience. That’s my comfort zone, but more than anything, it’s what makes me happy. But it is hard; it’s a definite way of life. It’s like, no life. Film and TV is no life in a different way; it’s “hurry up and wait,” but Broadway just isn’t for wimps. [laughs] I don’t know how else to say it.


RT: Do you feel that when you’re doing a film like Family Weekend it’s easier because you’re not performing without a net like you are on stage?

KC: It’s the pace that kills me in making a movie or doing a TV show. It’s the “hurry up and wait.” I actually love the work, but the amount of time we go from “action” to “cut” is so short, usually, compared to the waiting and getting ready, waiting, getting ready, waiting, ugh… That’s what drives me crazy. On the flip side, when you’re doing a Broadway thing, it’s all about stamina — rehearsal and performance — and that’s hard, too. And always trying to stay healthy and not get sick, because your name’s above the title, people won’t come to the show if you’re not there, or, you know, there’s pressure; you want to do the job. So, there’s the challenge, too, of waking up every morning and going, “How do I feel? Am I sick? Do I feel good?” They’re both hard; it’s just different hard.

RT: You have a sideline doing awards shows lately. How does one prepare for that? Is it more of a spontaneous thing than working with a script?

KC: Yes. Yes, it’s hard. I mean, it’s fun. I really didn’t want to do that, because I don’t see myself as that, because I’m an actor and singer, but for some reason I get inquiries to do it. I enjoy it — I’ve done the American Country Music Awards the past two years, and then, of course, the pre-show Oscars this year. [Singing a duet with Oscar host Seth MacFarlane] at the end felt like nothing, because that’s what I do. The interviewing, I’m like, “I give up.” Much respect to you guys to do it. You can prepare all the questions you want in the world, but the basic line is you have to be a good listener. You have to be a good listener, and then you have to be in the moment and ask questions that are appropriate. So, if I’m just being myself, just doing that, I’m better off than trying to become ultra-prepared. I mean, I do my own research and stuff, but I thought that was hard. I’ve never done anything like that before, like, on that level.

RT: Oz the Great and Powerful has made a splash, so is there finally going to be Wicked movie?

KC: Well, I mean, they better hurry up. [laughs] That’s all I got to say. Because it’s been 11 years since I played Glinda. I mean, at the rate that it’s going, I’d love to play Madame Morrible. I’ll just say that. Yeah, as long as I’m not a midget, I’m fine.

RT: “Popular” is a pretty catchy tune.

KC: I know, right? I’ve been doing it now for 10 years, and I’m not even sick of it yet. You’d think I would be.


Family Weekend is in select theaters this week.


Tag Cloud

foreign Shudder Creative Arts Emmys television Nickelodeon HBO Go AMC Pet Sematary Superheroe versus Chernobyl psychological thriller franchise festivals stop motion Oscars independent teaser Comedy Central Opinion festival space spider-man CW Seed E3 The Walking Dead Trophy Talk nature Amazon Studios satire social media Hallmark Britbox criterion Superheroes movie indie TCM Film Festival comic TIFF batman Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Binge Guide TBS diversity romance boxoffice The Purge Apple TV Plus video on demand quibi Disney+ Disney Plus Lucasfilm Premiere Dates Walt Disney Pictures Family Television Critics Association TCA 2017 joker politics Star Wars Comic Book adaptation Winners FOX fast and furious italian Horror Tomatazos anthology ghosts Crunchyroll The Witch crime thriller LGBTQ Disney streaming service San Diego Comic-Con Disney Channel comiccon Holiday IFC Films medical drama spanish language Countdown Bravo Trailer Logo CBS ID cartoon Valentine's Day Drama USA Network American Society of Cinematographers children's TV crime Paramount Network Vudu Showtime Pop TV Mary Tyler Moore Masterpiece PlayStation VICE Holidays latino superhero Emmy Nominations Syfy Mary poppins Grammys Writers Guild of America Tubi YA Musicals parents 2016 Sci-Fi harry potter OneApp thriller based on movie Mudbound period drama Cannes die hard Sneak Peek Western New York Comic Con Fantasy cults BET blaxploitation witnail black Disney Crackle TV Marvel Animation E! Trivia cancelled TV shows Comedy elevated horror SDCC critics Avengers Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt australia Rocky supernatural GLAAD Ellie Kemper dragons Netflix Christmas movies Warner Bros. Acorn TV GIFs Watching Series APB streaming Funimation ITV First Look ESPN Song of Ice and Fire Lifetime Christmas movies DC Universe discovery Esquire Women's History Month PaleyFest Television Academy cars Super Bowl NBC Character Guide crossover Film Black History Month Kids & Family TLC Freeform Turner Best and Worst VOD Hear Us Out See It Skip It screen actors guild Teen breaking bad Certified Fresh Netflix Disney Plus Baby Yoda Red Carpet TCA animated DGA Photos Sundance Pirates docudrama laika mutant zero dark thirty Video Games Polls and Games what to watch green book science fiction TCA Winter 2020 cancelled television canceled disaster tv talk Tumblr Rom-Com zombies FXX MSNBC TNT best spy thriller Nat Geo Cosplay YouTube Premium Sony Pictures YouTube Red Classic Film dramedy movies mockumentary 71st Emmy Awards HBO dc Summer comic books richard e. Grant video nfl First Reviews Infographic Toys 99% cinemax Black Mirror Election fresh Action sitcom Turner Classic Movies Ghostbusters series Awards book 20th Century Fox Brie Larson unscripted japanese Peacock Marvel Studios strong female leads venice worst Hulu The CW golden globes Musical Food Network Fox Searchlight justice league MTV screenings 2018 finale sequels game show Biopics ratings BET Awards worst movies Country free movies obituary canceled TV shows chucky ABC kids classics CMT sequel President Rock toronto Heroines nbcuniversal cancelled TV series deadpool concert 2019 emmy awards Marvel Television zombie Tarantino IFC Schedule CBS All Access rotten movies we love stand-up comedy WGN dogs History Winter TV Paramount 72 Emmy Awards A&E dark BBC One spain Fall TV indiana jones asian-american Epix crime drama Amazon Prime Video 24 frames Rocketman documentary twilight documentaries talk show WarnerMedia facebook Dark Horse Comics remakes Martial Arts El Rey travel award winner Lionsgate Box Office MCU Mystery Marathons Pop DC streaming service Adult Swim Sundance Now jamie lee curtis spanish political drama name the review hispanic stoner BBC America National Geographic Arrowverse Columbia Pictures composers child's play psycho cops DC Comics mission: impossible technology doctor who Sundance TV Anna Paquin The Academy boxing Cartoon Network Interview Quiz The Arrangement hist Apple TruTV RT21 cooking Amazon Prime RT History aliens Alien 45 Spectrum Originals directors serial killer TV renewals miniseries SXSW Hallmark Christmas movies sag awards rotten PBS Stephen King scorecard Lifetime Extras LGBT CNN 21st Century Fox historical drama news Comics on TV SundanceTV toy story werewolf vampires Podcast Mary Poppins Returns BBC archives Discovery Channel a nightmare on elm street Reality Competition TV Land HBO Max 4/20 Elton John TCA Awards comedies ABC Family casting Universal Endgame BAFTA anime A24 Travel Channel Emmys Year in Review films cats reviews dceu halloween tv blockbuster Starz FX NYCC slashers romantic comedy halloween 2020 james bond Calendar christmas movies football Academy Awards scary movies spinoff YouTube Fox News adventure reboot 2015 Set visit DirecTV true crime FX on Hulu hollywood war Reality south america OWN binge Captain marvel natural history Shondaland renewed TV shows GoT universal monsters robots french singing competition theme song 007 Pride Month Spike game of thrones revenge Spring TV Star Trek Pixar Awards Tour rt archives Thanksgiving all-time Christmas Nominations 2017 Amazon X-Men USA VH1 sports police drama Apple TV+ biography Ovation comics transformers Music cancelled Mindy Kaling