Movies

Kristin Chenoweth: My 'Rio' character gives killer kisses

April 9, 2014 at 11:11 AM ET

Film, stage and television star Kristin Chenoweth really understood the character she plays in her upcoming film, "Rio 2." And while there's nothing unusual about an actress connecting with a role, this role is that of a poisonous and passionate animated frog.

Chenoweth plays the part of Gabi, an amphibian so deadly, she can't be touched. It's a premise that had TODAY's Matt Lauer interested in more details.

"If I put my hands all over you, do I die instantly, or only after my wife finds out?" he joked.

"If she kisses anyone she'll kill them — which, I mean, who doesn't relate to that?" Chenoweth shot back.

But making matters worse in the film is the fact that Gabi is smitten.

"I'll tell you something, she's in love with this bird … and he doesn't know she's alive," Chenoweth explained. "I don't know if women out there understand this, (but) I certainly have been there."

The object of Gabi's affection is Nigel, otherwise known as the big, bad cockatoo in the bird-centric tale. And while Nigel doesn't notice Gabi, she can't take her eyes off of him.

"She could be a little stalkerish," Chenoweth said. "She could be a tiny bit of a stalker."

The star sympathizes with Gabi, but in real life, the actress-singer doesn't have to chase after unrequited love. She's dating Dana Brunetti, the executive producer of "Fifty Shades of Grey," whom she recently took home to meet her parents in Norman, Okla.

"They were very sweet," she said of her folks. 

They're also "very Baptist," according to pal Kathie Lee Gifford, who wondered what Chenoweth's family thought of the film Brunetti's working on.

"'That's not what I think it is, is it?'" Chenoweth recalled her mom asking. "She used the P-word. … 'Porn.'"

But she assured her mom, "It's tastefully done."

"Fifty Shades" fans will have to wait until February of 2015 to see for themselves. As for catching Chenoweth's tiny, poisonous stalker on the big screen, "Rio 2" opens April 11.

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