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

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