Kathie Lee Gifford on Heating Up the Screen with Craig Ferguson: 'He's My Cinematic Soulmate'
The former co-host of Today's fourth hour and comedian star together in a romantic comedy set in Scotland
Craig Ferguson makes for a swoon-worthy leading man on the silver screen.
So says Kathie Lee Gifford, who stars in the upcoming romantic comedy, Then Came You, with the former CBS Late, Late Show host-turned-movie star.
“How much did you fall in love with Craig Ferguson?” Gifford, 65, asked the audience Thursday during a Q&A following a screening of the film at the 5th annual Greenwich International Film Festival in Connecticut. “I feel like I met my soulmate cinematically.”
The former co-host of the fourth hour of Today plays a widow who sets out to visit the countries where some of the films she and her late husband enjoyed together are set. When she gets to Scotland, she meets a stubborn innkeeper, played by Ferguson, 57, who sets her journey on a whole new course.
“He is scrumptious,” director Adriana Trigiani told PEOPLE. “He is definitely a heartthrob. An old-fashioned movie star. Every woman who leaves the theater after watching Craig Ferguson in Then Came You will want to jump her husband … including Mrs. Ferguson.”
Her leading man and leading lady “have a lot of chemistry,” said Trigiani, who directed the 2014 film, Big Stone Gap, starring Ashley Judd and Patrick Wilson based on her 2001 bestselling book of the same name.
Gifford told the audience during the Q&A which was moderated by PEOPLE that she and Ferguson first shared onscreen sizzle in 2017, when he filled in for Gifford’s Today co-host Hoda Kotb who was on maternity leave.
“It was the most explosive TV I have ever done in my life!” she said before joking, “We should have been arrested for what was going on.”
Gifford said she is friends with Ferguson’s wife, Megan, who urged her husband to do the film after she sent the couple the script she’d penned.
“She read the script first and she said, ‘Craig, you’ve got to do this movie. But boy does she have you down.'”
“No, no …” she said. “Do I expect it? No. Would I love it? Yeah …”
She told the audience she’d like to be a bride again one day.
Gifford left the wedding dress her character dons in the movie with the owner of an inn in Scotland where they filmed many scenes, she told the audience.
“I said, ‘Keep this for me because I’m going to come back here one day and use it,’” she said, eliciting a cascade of “awwwws” from the already teary-eyed crowd.
“I felt very much in love and hopeful in that dress,” she said.
Gifford says she plans on making more movies after stepping down from Today in April after 11 years.
She doesn’t know when the film will be distributed but says she plans on making four more movies about these two characters with Ferguson.
“Movie making is not for the faint of heart,” she said. “But I can’t wait to do it again.”