KRISTEN CHENOWETH: A LITTLE BIT OF PRE EMMY Q&A

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When ABC mowed down PUSHING DAISIES last November, fans of the critically acclaimed and ratings challenged show were justifiably upset. But not exactly surprised.

Mainstream audiences, it seemed, just never latched on to the quirky concept of a piemaker (LEE PACE) who resurrects people from the dead to ask them existential questions or to have them aid in his investigations.

Petitions to save the show sprung up like weeds but to no avail. Fast forward nine months and now the show has risen back into the headlines thanks to one of its stars, KRISTIN CHENOWETH, who was recently nominated for a BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (COMEDY) EMMY for her role on the show.

The Broadway performer turned television star talked about taking the show’s cancellation hard, her upcoming role on another whimsical show (entitled GLEE) and how she gets mistaken for CAMERON DIAZ.

Q: Does your nomination for PUSHING DAISIES soften the blow of the show’s cancellation?

KC: It certainly doesn’t suck! I’m pretty good at doing a job and then, kind of, moving on to the next one. But truth be told, I have had a harder time with this job ending because I knew it was an original and very, very special show. I loved the fantasy mixed in with the reality and loved playing a character that was complicated and, you know, kind of the underdog who didn’t get the guy. I’m still sad. I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t miss it.

Q: Would you trade the nomination to get the show back, even though it’s been off the air so long?

KC: Oh gosh, who doesn’t want to keep their job? Especially when it’s as different and special as this show was. It feels like a double edged sword. It’s nice to go, “I can’t believe they remembered us!” because, I mean, we were cancelled at Christmas! It feels like a win to me. It’s just like wow, thanks for remembering.

Q: You were 1 for 2 when it came to TONY nominations. This being your second EMMY nom, what do you think of your chances this year?

(NOTE: She won for YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN and lost for WICKED.)

KC: (laughs) Oh, can’t I just concentrate on my dress??! I just wanna look cute! Last year I did the long black ARMANI classic look, which I love. I feel like it’ll be different for me this year. Much different.

Q: There’s been chatter that it’s gonna be between you and AMY POEHLER for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.

KC: She’s just such a genius, ya know! But frankly none of them are to be counted out. To me when I look at how many people that could have been nominated, it’s so many. I’m just happy to be in the top six!

Q: How did learning about the EMMY nominations compare to your experiences with the TONYS in NEW YORK?

KC: It’s nice to be sort of embraced a little bit by the TV community, because so many people only know me from BROADWAY. This nomination is on acting and I’ve always considered myself an actress first, even when I’m singing. It’s about the lyrics. It’s about “Why are you singing the song?” It’s certainly nice for some people to say “Hey, we like you in this venue.” But you know, I really didn’t expect it this time.

Q: Why is that?

KC: I was so shocked because our show had been off the air so long. I mean, we were cancelled! And it’s natural for people to forget, but not this Academy. That’s why this is really cool that the show got so many (5) nominations.

Q: So many shows get cancelled before their time. Is there a link between the cleverness of a show and how long it can last in our reality TV obsessed culture?

KC: DAISIES wasn’t the kind of show that a viewer could just drop in casually and get it. You had to have actually listened. And I think (DAISIES’ creator) BRYAN FULLER is so clever. And not to say that America isn’t clever, but we’re in a very cynical time and, you know, we’re at war and I’m not sure people really wanted to pay attention as closely as I had hoped.

I would rather had been a part of something like PUSHING DAISIES – and this is just me – than something that might run for ten years but maybe won’t make that impact like this show did.

Q: One of the things that made PUSHING DAISIES so interesting was the fantasy aspect that allowed you to sing. Now you’re connected with the buzzed about FOX musical comedy show GLEE.

KC: I can tell you this part is completely different than PUSHING DAISIES. But it is just so fun. GLEE is the perfect title for that show. It just gives me so much happiness to be around that kind of talent. You know, working with MATTHEW MORRISON. He’s pretty special. I was blown away by all of those kids.

Q: Did all of the theatre kids on the show just lose it whey they saw KRISTIN CHENOWETH on the set?

KC: They were so sweet and kept saying, “We’re so honoured” and I was like please, I’M honoured!!! I just had a blast playing that part of APRIL RHODES (a former member of the glee club that hit rock bottom in real life). I loved it.

Q: The roll out of the show was odd, with a pilot episode airing in May and the rest of the season not happening until September.

KC: Who knows if it’s gonna do well. I can tell you this, though: It’s a very special show. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and just glad I was able to be on it.

Q: So far, your presence on the show will be brief. Any talk of bringing you on more frequently?

KC: They’ve mentioned about coming back, but I signed no deal.

Q: You started as a singer, then became a BROADWAY star and now you’ve had success in film and TV. At what point did you realize you were bona fide famous?

KC: Gosh, still working on that! I never think about it until I’m at Starbucks and I get approached or, you know what’s been happening the past year or so, people come up to me and say “You know who you look like? KRISTIN CHENOWETH,” and I’m like WHAT? Or they say I look like CAMERON DIAZ and that’s always a compliment.

Of course she’s like a foot taller than me.

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