Chenoweth Talks Christians, Comedy & Cockburn
Over the last few years, I have had multiple opportunities to spend some time with Kristin Chenoweth. We've hunkered down in tiny green rooms, kicked it in elevators and made the most out of makeup chairs. Over that time, the world has watched her star rocket -- from theater queen to Emmy darling and now the star of a brand new ABC series.
But when I caught up with Kristin yesterday to talk all about G.C.B, I found out that all this fame hasn't gone to her head one bit.
She is still the girl who openly mocks herself, the one who happily does spit-takes on camera for shiggles and the one who will undoubtedly reach an even higher echelon of fame thanks to Carlene Cockburn, a character whose behavior is eye-popping as her name!
Insider.com: ABC is seriously behind this show -- everywhere I turn there are massive billboards of you!
Kristin Chenoweth: I know! [laughs] I was kind of freaking out when I was in Times Square and saw this gigantic picture of me on the side of a building. I've never been taller in my life!
Insider: Which is rather apt seeing as your G.C.B. character, Carlene Cockburn, is larger than life.
Kristin: One of the reasons I love her so much is because she's larger than life. I didn't want anyone else playing her, for sure.
Insider: What was it about Carlene that made you feel that way?
Kristin: She's juicy and complicated. She's been bullied and now she's the villain. But I think it's interesting that she has faith because it shows that just because you have faith, it doesn't mean you're not human. You still get in your own way and can, at times, lose sight of being a person of God. I too am a Christian but I make mistakes all the time. Just hopefully not the same ones Carleen makes [laughs]. I think the fact that she does believe in the bible and her faith makes her a fun villain. But this one person just totally derails her.
Insider: Do you think Carlene and Amanda can ever see eye to eye?
Kristin: You know, they do – because there's something great about Southern women. They want to get along so badly, but sometimes things get in the way and these two derail themselves. You'll see Carleen and Amanda band together but there's always that bristle between them. Carleen will always remember what Amanda did to her and you can forgive but I don't think you can ever really forget. That's the beauty of the show and where we draw a lot of humor from.
Insider: You're arguably one of the most open-minded Christians -- do you feel an obligation to put a more accepting image of Christianity out into the public?
Kristin: I really do. First of all, thank you for saying that. I appreciate that people notice. But yes, I don't think Christians have done ourselves any favors. I proudly say that I'm a Christian but a lot of people in Hollywood, who are Christians, are nervous to say that because there's such a bad connotation. Not only do I feel a responsibility to it, but I want people to know that not all Christians are the same. There's over 200 sects of Muslims and if we thought that they were all the same as the people behind 9/11, the world would be a crazy place. I want people to know that there are Christians in this world who actually do welcome other faiths, denominations and sexualities. I think God wants us to look at our lives and really examine other people who don't share out beliefs. That's really important, so yes, I do feel a certain responsibility. I want people to know that just because you're a Christian, it doesn't mean you’re perfect.
Insider: What do you think about the critics already getting up in arms about the way Christianity is depicted on the show?
Kristin: This show could take place in a temple, it could take place in any community – I'm so glad Bobby Harling [creator] is a Christian because he wouldn't do anything that steps over the line – and neither would I. Yes, I'm an actress but I wouldn't do anything that made fun of my God. No way!
Insider: What are you excited for people to see in this show and your performance?
Kristin: Well, if I may be so bold, I might harken back to my idol Madeline Kahn a little bit in this part. I think that we are a comedy. There's that word dramedy, but over these 10 episodes we found that we're all out comedy. And I don't think we've seen that in an hour-long TV show ever. I can't think of any scripted series that did that. We're not trying to be anything but a comedy and I'm so glad we’ve embraced that.
Insider: The pilot episode features you singing, as does an upcoming episode [sneak peek] -- how much Chenoweth singing do we have to look forward to?
Kristin: Well, Carlene is one that likes to give herself the solos. She views herself as the most talented in town. So you will see her sing a lot, but slowly you'll start to see others get in there and Carlene just doesn't like that very much. Not at all.
G.C.B. airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC.