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Post head-injury, Kristin Chenoweth goes on a "Family Weekend"

Kristin Chenoweth and Oscars host Seth MacFarlane perform the closing number at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 2
Kristin Chenoweth and Oscars host Seth MacFarlane perform the closing number at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 2

By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Tony and Emmy Award winning singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth is known for her perky personality ranging from roles in Broadway's "Wicked" to television's "Glee" and performing a closing number at February's Oscar ceremony with host Seth MacFarlane.

On Friday, the diminutive (4ft 11in) actress moves to the dark side in the indie movie "Family Weekend." She plays a mother so consumed by work that she ignores her own children and squabbles with her husband, until her teenage daughter kidnaps and ties up both parents in a bid to get their attention.

Chenoweth, 44, talked to Reuters about the film, her Christian faith and the serious accident last year that forced her to re-evaluate her life.

Q: What was it like being tied up for most of the duration of "Family Weekend?"

A: I am done with that tape! I was mostly in the same room and in the same position for four weeks. Lots of times I couldn't speak so I had to moan or grunt. And when I was spoken to, the tape (on my mouth) had to be ripped off. I was constantly getting waxed, I guess you could say.

Q: Are the parents the villains in the film?

A: One thing I learned is the basic good nature of people. They want to do right. This woman has a full plate and it has gone awry. It wasn't always bad. But with the pressure of being the breadwinner, she lost sight of what was truly important.

Q: Speaking of things going awry, you were cast on "The Good Wife" TV series but that all changed when a lighting rig fell on your head on the set last July.

A: It was bad. I was banged up, completely black and blue. My head was cut open, I had a skull fracture and cracked teeth. I had to get my memory going again (because) I was knocked out. My mom and dad came to stay with me and I was saying, "Why me? Why me? I was just standing there!"

My mom said: "Why not you? Life happens and you're no special or different or worse off or better off than anybody else. You're lucky to be alive and we are going to be grateful." It was a great piece of advice.

Q: Besides the physical trauma, what was the emotional damage?

A: One thing I really struggled with was having to stop and be quiet and still. That was the worst part about it. So I was like, Okay, clearly I'm supposed to be still. I've been going at it for so long, and so hard in so many different areas. Honestly, I think it was good. I can't believe I'm saying that, but it really makes you take stock of what's important.

Q: So how have you restructured you life post-accident? You still have a lot going on - voicing next year's animated film "Rio 2" and promoting a new ship that's being built for Royal Caribbean, among others things.

A: I'm being choosy with how I spend my free time. I can be very much a hermit and I'm trying not to do that anymore. I'm trying to enjoy the moments instead of going, 'Okay, I've got that behind me, what's next? I've got to do that and that and that ...' I want to enjoy it when it's happening.

Q: How does your Christian faith inform your professional and personal life?

A: Being a person of faith in show business is interesting. I've done lots of things maybe some Christians wouldn't do. But I've also said no to a lot of things that nobody knows about. It's a fine line to walk, but I have to keep true to my faith and pray and do the best I can.

I was at the History Channel (premiere) for "The Bible" miniseries and it's as important for me to go to that event as it is for me to go to a GLAAD event because I'm a gay rights activist. In some people's views, that is a direct conflict. But I don't see it as such. It's something that I've taken heat for and been praised for.

Q: You're adopted. How does that shape you?

A: Mainly that I feel a lot of love from my mom and dad who adopted me. Maybe I would have had a very different life had I not been adopted but my parents have really helped shape who I am. I do things sometimes they don't agree with, but I'm their kid and they love me. I know they feel like they won the lottery and I feel like I won the lottery. They got me and I got a home. The right home.

(Reporting By Zorianna Kit, Editing by Jill Serjeant)

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