Kathie Lee Gifford was back on duty today, right beside Hoda Kotb for the fourth hour of “Today,” but it's no wonder that she looked a bit rushed. The always put-together co-host was heralded under red, white, and blue spotlights, and could hardly wait to share the details of her time in Scotland, where she's been since early June, doing principal filming for her independent film project, “Love Me to Death.”

The entire project was spearheaded by Kathie Lee Gifford, who wrote, produced, and co-wrote the music for the film with famed country music and Christian composer, Brett James, and the past year has been proof-positive for the veteran star of stage and screen that “it's never too late,” to pursue any cherished dream.

Hoda Kotb credited that “You made it happen,” and Kathie Lee Gifford was quick to add that “No one does this alone.” Gifford gushed with many more fun details of filming in the Scottish Highlands, and honors in working with distinguished cast members and her chosen leading man, Craig Ferguson.

The music was just the start

Over the past year, Kathie Lee Gifford has resumed her musical career as never before. Her tender ballad of eternal love, life, and the power of faith, “He Saw Jesus,” written in honor of her late husband, Frank Gifford, spoke to countless listeners in bereavement after the loss of loved ones, and soared to the top of the iTunes charts last summer. “His Name Is Jesus” became another iTunes hit after Gifford, sang it at the national tree lighting ceremony in December.

In February, Kathie Lee Gifford prompted another musical sensation when the music video for her film’s title track was released, and “Love Me to Death” racked up thousands of downloads and views. Gifford was already writing lyrics for the project when a natural conversation between friends sparked her collaboration with James, who continued for the entire score.

Craig Ferguson and Kathie Lee sparked their own playful connection, in addition to co-starring in "Love Me To Death," in front of millions of “Today” fans when the former late-night host filled in for Hoda. This was during her maternity leave after the arrival of her daughter, Haley Joy, into her arms, life, and home. Ferguson not only became a fast friend, but fueled Gifford's passion to get the project done, and not depend on the typical big production “powers that be.” From that point on, Kathie Lee Gifford wrote the entire story, hearing Craig Ferguson's unmistakable brogue and playful, bawdy humor in her head.

He was the perfect choice as her leading man, portraying Howard to her Annabelle, and gives a performance that may surprise fans.

A dramatic turn

Without hesitation, Kathie Lee Gifford called her involvement with “Love Me to Death” “the most incredible professional experience of my life,” this morning (July 9). She calls Ferguson’s dramatic portrayal of an estate owner now in financial distress “stunning.” Her co-star also had some fun during a scene in close quarters, with temperatures uncharacteristically hot my Scottish standards. The segment features Gifford in a towel after a bath, and a particular “cover-up” melted away with the heat. Craig Ferguson loves taking on a Sir Alec Guinness voice, and mercilessly made Kathie Lee crack up through several takes after the faux pas.

She banished Craig after that point and played the scene to only an X on the wall. Not to worry, the whole time, even in her bathtub scenes (alone), she was wearing a body suit and covered in suds.

The story centers around a widowed woman who travels around the world to stave off her isolation. She discovers resurgent love and faith through her new relationship, not only with Howard, but with the whole community, and Scotland itself, which saw a "Game of Thrones" wedding in June. The movie is “a love letter to Scotland,” according to Gifford. The actress was propelled to create a story that speaks to widows and others in grief, and one that featured a cast from an older demographic, demonstrating that no artist declines in his or her craft just because of age.

Craig Ferguson was not content to be a casual co-star, either. As soon as Kathie Lee Gifford arrived in Scotland, he encouraged her to change the ending of her story, and she came around to see that he was right. Feeling inspired by the strength of his performances, Gifford also wrote a special song for Ferguson to sing in “Love Me to Death.”

The project also draws on the acclaimed talents of Ford Kiernan, Elizabeth Hurley and Phyllida Law, who disclosed to Gifford that this would be her last film role. “Love Me to Death” now goes into 16 weeks of postproduction, trimming 153 hours of footage down to about 100 minutes. Kathie Lee Gifford will be “in meetings today” to determine release dates and the premiere.

As much as possible, local and British artists were used in costume design, makeup, and set decoration, as well as in the cast. The “passion project” that was a dream come true for Kathie Lee Gifford will hopefully add passion to the holidays for her many fans.