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Brendan
11-08-2006, 03:24 PM
From: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&col=968705925735&c=Article&cid=1162464730201&call_pageid=968867495754

Sorkin plays kiss 'n' tell with Chenoweth

Studio 60 shows Kristin's quirks 700 Club, CNN imitation all true
Nov. 4, 2006. 01:00 AM
RICHARD OUZOUNIAN


While many showbiz pundits are offering their suggestions about how Aaron Sorkin could best fix his troubled NBC series, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, everybody seems to be missing the most obvious solution: Just ask Kristin Chenoweth.

It's been one of the worst-kept secrets in Hollywood that the pivotal, tortured involvement on the show between Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson) is based on the real-life relationship Sorkin and Chenoweth shared several years ago.

"Well, what am I to say?" sighs Chenoweth sweetly when asked to comment on the situation. "That's tricky stuff. Some of it is literally verbatim me, and some of it is not me at all."

At this moment, she's miles away from the Sunset Strip in every sense of the word.

She's currently rehearsing for The Apple Tree, the Roundabout Theatre production of a musical set to go into previews at New York's Studio 54 on Nov.28. It's one of this year's most hotly awaited shows, thanks to the Tony Award-winning presence of Chenoweth.

But as she sits on a dilapidated couch outside a West Side rehearsal hall — wearing oversized glasses and Dutch boy cap — she looks more like the little girl from Broken Arrow, Okla., she began as, than the toast of both coasts that she finds herself today.

"It's hard," she says simply about the whole Studio 60 situation. "It's hard on a very private level. I once told Aaron, `Unless you accept Jesus Christ as your personal saviour, then get the hell out,' and he laughed for two minutes. Then I see it on the show in a different way, which I'm not really sure about.

"Yes, I went on The 700 Club to promote an album of Christian songs I had recorded and yes, Aaron and I argued about that, but it doesn't mean I want to watch that disagreement flung up on the screen for all America to see."

She twists at a random piece of her trademark blonde hair. "I'm trying to be supportive of the show, but it's hard. I'm not going to lie. I used to sit at home at night and do imitations of (CNN host) Nancy Grace and the next thing I know, they wind up on the air."

Her mouth twists into a mischievous grin. "We're still extremely close and Aaron called me up on the phone a few weeks ago to ask me what I thought about Mel Gibson. I said, `I'm not going to tell you what I think, because it's going to end up on the show.'"

She gets serious again. "I know some people are looking for failure for him, but I want that show to stay on the air. I think Sorkin is — and it's not just because I love him — I think he's a genius."

A lot of people use the same word to describe Chenoweth, who has had one of the most eclectic careers in modern show-business.

She was born in 1968 and grew up in the part of America known as "the buckle on the Bible belt." She was a sorority girl who performed at Opryland USA. She was also first runner-up in the 1991 Miss Oklahoma pageant and won a scholarship from the Metropolitan Opera's national auditions.

She threw it all away to go into musical theatre, where she quickly rose to the top, snagging a Tony Award for her delicious performance in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The smash hit Wicked came next, with Chenoweth charming everyone as ditzy blonde witch Glinda.

The West Coast beckoned and she left to do a flop sitcom called — what else? — Kristin, as well as supporting roles in films like Bewitched, The Pink Panther and the current comedy Running with Scissors.

She also spent two seasons on The West Wing as media guru Annabeth Schott, but even though Sorkin created the series, that isn't where she met him.

"He offered me The West Wing many years ago," she recalls, "but I couldn't do it because of Wicked. Then, when I finally got cast in the series, he sent me flowers with a note saying, `Just my luck, I'm not on the show any more, but you are.'

"Then he called me up to ask me out, but I thought he was just being nice, so I didn't return the call. He called me back. We went out and that was it. I adore him."

It's strange how Sorkin put a certain amount of Chenoweth into the character of Harriet Hayes, but he's left out some of the more fascinating parts, as well.

Get Chenoweth talking about her religious beliefs these days and you'll find a complicated, committed woman, struggling to reconcile herself with what she sees around her.

"It's getting to the point where I don't even want to call myself Christian, because the connotations of that word today are hate, non-acceptance, judgment — everything I believe Christianity isn't supposed to be about.

"When you think about it, Jesus was a poor liberal Jew. If he were alive today, he'd be working with people who have AIDS. I wonder how he would have felt about the people who call themselves `Christians' today."

She takes off her glasses and rubs her eyes. "The Christian right has come out against me because I believe in gay rights. And a lot of people in show-business mock me for being Christian. I just have to feel the way that I feel.

"You know, it's funny. I have parents who are right-wing Republican Christians and yet they somehow raised me to love everybody, not to judge everybody. When did that all change in America?"

It's a very good question. The kind of question that would make Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip a lot more interesting.

Patton
11-08-2006, 03:38 PM
Thanks for posting that. I've been wondering how she felt about it.

Captain Sensation
11-08-2006, 03:50 PM
LOL, am i the only one thinking this thread was about shannon?

MattJohnson
11-08-2006, 03:59 PM
That's interesting. I didn't know any of that about her and Sorkin.

It kind of reminded me of this article from The Onion:


Friends Always On Best Behavior Around Neil LaBute

FORT WAYNE, IN—Personal acquaintances of acclaimed playwright and filmmaker Neil LaBute reported Tuesday that they keep their behavior in check when around him. "You get in one stupid argument with your wife in front of the guy, and the next thing you know, you're an emotionally abusive misogynist in theaters nationwide," said Terrence Wydell, one of LaBute's former classmates. "With Neil, it's best to limit the conversation to the weather and current events." LaBute is reportedly at work on The Act Of Lending, a play about a character named Terrence who borrows DVDs through intimidation and verbal cruelty, with no intention of ever returning them.

Mr. E!
11-08-2006, 04:01 PM
Oh, so we have her to blame for the most annoying aspect of the show.

joespam
11-08-2006, 04:14 PM
I had no idea that Harriet's character was based on a real person.

Nor that I knew who that real person was.

Caley Tibbittz
11-08-2006, 04:36 PM
Oh, so we have her to blame for the most annoying aspect of the show.

Isn't it less annoying if it's real? I thought he was just making crap up...

Stark Raving
11-08-2006, 04:47 PM
Because someone was going to say it:

;)


http://img368.imageshack.us/img368/1139/kristinchenowethfhm5ck6.jpg

Mister Mets
11-08-2006, 05:11 PM
Is it wrong to think she's a lot hotter than the woman who plays her on the show?

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0155693/photogallery

Thomas Mauer
11-08-2006, 06:03 PM
LOL, am i the only one thinking this thread was about shannon?

Nope. :)

CraigM
11-08-2006, 06:18 PM
Is it wrong to think she's a lot hotter than the woman who plays her on the show?

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0155693/photogallery
She's alright. I think her forehead is big though.

I think Paulson is better looking though.

Craig

J. Wilson
11-08-2006, 06:33 PM
Excellent article.

Shannon Chenoweth
11-08-2006, 06:33 PM
I've been thinking of trying to find out if she is related to my family in some way. She's a very talented woman.

Drew
11-08-2006, 10:04 PM
Isn't it less annoying if it's real? I thought he was just making crap up...

No.

cmoney
11-08-2006, 10:38 PM
No.

Yet it does steal a bit of vitriol away from the constant complainers. Or at least it should.

Flonk
11-08-2006, 11:08 PM
Is it wrong to think she's a lot hotter than the woman who plays her on the show?

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0155693/photogallery

no.

Caley Tibbittz
11-08-2006, 11:23 PM
Yet it does steal a bit of vitriol away from the constant complainers. Or at least it should.
This is what I'm saying.

Mr. E!
11-09-2006, 01:04 AM
Yet it does steal a bit of vitriol away from the constant complainers. Or at least it should.

Honestly, I don't see why it would. Real or not, based of fact or not, it is annoying. While the character is getting established, I get it. But after X number of episodes, the constant "harriet is a christian" stuff is old.

Fourthman
11-09-2006, 02:41 AM
Honestly, I don't see why it would. Real or not, based of fact or not, it is annoying. While the character is getting established, I get it. But after X number of episodes, the constant "harriet is a christian" stuff is old.

This is what I'm saying. They should make the sketches funny to distract from that stuff.

Sam Little
11-09-2006, 02:45 AM
This is what I'm saying. They should make the sketches funny to distract from that stuff.

Funny sketches would be good. The show is getting a little too "heartwarming" for me.

The Craig
11-09-2006, 02:49 AM
Based on her West Wing performance alone I would've loved to have seen Chenoweth in the Harriett role on S60. Probably not likely though...

OMAC

Brendan
11-09-2006, 09:35 AM
Honestly, I don't see why it would. Real or not, based of fact or not, it is annoying. While the character is getting established, I get it. But after X number of episodes, the constant "harriet is a christian" stuff is old.

I don't mind the "Harriet is a Christian" stuff. It's allowing the show to discuss a lot of ideas that need to be discussed.

But every now and then on Studio 60 I feel like I'm watching an Aaron Sorkin self-therapy session. It's always interesting, but sometimes it feels kinda creepy. I just don't think I'm as interested in Aaron Sorkin as Aaron Sorkin is. It is the job of the artist to make me forget he is there.

Gregory
11-09-2006, 09:45 AM
Chenoweth should be somewhat flattered that Harriet is the best thing about the show. It also helps that the actress is the standout. Her imitations, including Juliette Lewis and Holly Hunter, are top-notch. She should be on a real sketch show.

Relaunched
11-09-2006, 09:53 AM
Sorkin has been lifting from everyone he knows, from Matt Perry dressing just like Tommy Schlamme to this whole speeding ticket in a small town story that happened to his cameraman on West Wing.

I'd rather see more of Bradley Whitford and maybe Scooter... I mean Timothy Busfield over Miss Piggy... I mean Paulson.

Hopeless Dent
11-09-2006, 09:56 AM
Haters abound. The show is what the show is. I think it's silly that everyone went into this with specific expectations. The main similarity between Sports Night and West Wing was great characters and spot on dialogue. But if you're not interested in politics or hate sports they might not be for you. It's a TV show. If you like it, watch it. If not, don't.

Sorkin's a great writer but that doesn't mean everyone is going to love all of his work. Your expectations aren't his problem.

Relaunched
11-09-2006, 10:04 AM
Sorkin's a great writer but that doesn't mean everyone is going to love all of his work. Your expectations aren't his problem.

When the show continues to drop viewers from week to week then the audiences expectations are very much his problem.

It's an okay show that's just finding its legs. I'm still hopeful and will keep watching. But at least West Wing showed sides struggling for the greater good - people believing in the country despite its flawed systems. Maybe it was Martin, but it came across positive.

Studio 60 spends so much time pointing out the problems in a bitter rant. Lecturing how doing drugs is better than drunk driving or acting as if the personal life of a studio exec would interest anyone let alone a potentially best selling tell all. Plus it's comedy show in which none of the sketches are actually funny.

Hopeless Dent
11-09-2006, 10:26 AM
I don't think it is a comedy show. It takes place on the set of a comedy show. I for one think the sketches are funny, but that's not the point.

And I didn't mean Sorkin shouldn't care about viewer expectations from a financial perspective. Of course he wants the show to do well. I just meant creatively it's not his problem.

Brendan
11-09-2006, 10:32 AM
I don't hate the show at all. I'm enjoying it. I just don't think it's Sorkin's strongest work. He can do better than this.

Still, Sorkin being mediocre is still better than 99% of the rest of television. I guess when you're a genius like Sorkin, you can afford to slack off now and then.

Sy-Klone
11-09-2006, 10:38 AM
I did not know this.

Wow.

joespam
11-09-2006, 02:33 PM
Sorkin has been lifting from everyone he knows, from Matt Perry dressing just like Tommy Schlamme to this whole speeding ticket in a small town story that happened to his cameraman on West Wing.
Okay, I need to see the website documenting where all of the real-life stuff appears in all Sorkin shows. I had no idea he lifted so liberally from people he knew.

CraigM
11-09-2006, 03:01 PM
Okay, I need to see the website documenting where all of the real-life stuff appears in all Sorkin shows. I had no idea he lifted so liberally from people he knew.
Well, the point of the show is the backstage dealings of a television show basically. This is what happened in real life so it would only make sense to transfer over to the show. You draw from real life when you write is what I was always taught and told.

Craig

Patton
11-09-2006, 03:34 PM
Okay, I need to see the website documenting where all of the real-life stuff appears in all Sorkin shows. I had no idea he lifted so liberally from people he knew.

Jordan is based on a real person as well. Danny's cocaine bust was Aaron's. Not sure if those were mentioned.

I have a feeling Sorkin has a bat, because at least 2 of his main characters have used them to think or write. Possibly 3.

I know there's more that I learned, but I'm blanking.

joespam
11-09-2006, 03:42 PM
Well, the point of the show is the backstage dealings of a television show basically. This is what happened in real life so it would only make sense to transfer over to the show. You draw from real life when you write is what I was always taught and told.
Not debating or disputing that. Although I'd be more impressed with a writer who pulled all those situations from their imagination.

I just want to see the complete list of stuff on sorkin shows that happened in real life. I'm fascinated.

Relaunched
11-09-2006, 03:45 PM
The show is based more on Sorkin's friendship with Tommy Schlamme (Matt Perry). The only down side is they brought over a friend/writer from West Wing who was Al Gore's speech writer and was pretty much responsible for the worst episodes in the last years of the West Wing.

Patton
11-09-2006, 04:09 PM
The show is based more on Sorkin's friendship with Tommy Schlamme (Matt Perry). The only down side is they brought over a friend/writer from West Wing who was Al Gore's speech writer and was pretty much responsible for the worst episodes in the last years of the West Wing.

How so? We see he and Harriet together way more than we see Matt and Danny together. For now, at least.

Flonk
11-10-2006, 01:13 AM
Okay, I need to see the website documenting where all of the real-life stuff appears in all Sorkin shows. I had no idea he lifted so liberally from people he knew.



You say that like it's a bad thing.

Caley Tibbittz
11-10-2006, 01:19 AM
Chenoweth should be somewhat flattered that Harriet is the best thing about the show. It also helps that the actress is the standout. Her imitations, including Juliette Lewis and Holly Hunter, are top-notch. She should be on a real sketch show.

Her imitations are great. I'm not as impressed by her actual acting though.

Caley Tibbittz
11-10-2006, 01:21 AM
Sorkin's a great writer but that doesn't mean everyone is going to love all of his work. Your expectations aren't his problem.Just because he's a great writer doesn't mean everything he writes will great. Joss Whedon's been proving that with Astonishing X-Men.

joespam
11-10-2006, 02:31 PM
You say that like it's a bad thing.No, I really don't.

MattJohnson
11-10-2006, 03:01 PM
Okay, I need to see the website documenting where all of the real-life stuff appears in all Sorkin shows. I had no idea he lifted so liberally from people he knew.

This is hardly complete, but it looks like a good start:

http://community.tvguide.com/thread.jspa?threadID=700009934&messageID=700058852

Greenville 90210
11-10-2006, 05:18 PM
But every now and then on Studio 60 I feel like I'm watching an Aaron Sorkin self-therapy session. It's always interesting, but sometimes it feels kinda creepy. I just don't think I'm as interested in Aaron Sorkin as Aaron Sorkin is. It is the job of the artist to make me forget he is there.

I would like an Aaron Sorkin-written "Curb your Enthusiasm" type show about Aaron Sorkin...

MattJohnson
11-10-2006, 05:45 PM
I would like an Aaron Sorkin-written "Curb your Enthusiasm" type show about Aaron Sorkin...

Oh my god... that's the greatest idea in the history of ideas.

Greenville 90210
11-10-2006, 05:55 PM
Oh my god... that's the greatest idea in the history of ideas.

Thanks.

I should work in Television.

Bill Nolan
12-14-2006, 08:43 AM
I'm just bumping this thread because I just now remembered that Chenoweth played Mr. Noodle's sister Ms. Noodle on Sesame Street, and I find that endlessly amusing... :scared:

- B