From explaining what a "bunhead" is, to revealing her own show obsession, keep reading this interview with Sutton Foster to learn more about the Bunheads star and her character Michelle!
What is a “bunhead” exactly?
Sutton Foster: A bunhead is someone who spends a lot of their life with their hair in a bun, meaning it would be someone who has dedicated their life and their time to the art of ballet. Ballet is an incredibly difficult, beautiful art form that takes a lot of training, a lot of time, and a lot of hard work. And so when someone is deemed a bunhead, that’s what it means.
I live near Alvin Ailey Dance Studio and I’ll see a bunch of girls walking down the street with their hair in their buns, and I’m like, “Oh, they’re ballet dancers.” It’s like a symbol. You can go, “Ah,” and say, “I know what they are.” That’s a bunhead.
Did you watch Gilmore Girls, and if so, why should Gilmore Girls fans tune into Bunheads?
Sutton Foster: I did watch Gilmore. Gilmore was my favorite! And I’m not even -- this is before I even met Amy or worked on Bunheads. But it was my favorite show of all time, and I own all the DVDs.
I think Amy Sherman-Palladino has a very specific voice; it’s unlike anyone else on television. And Bunheads has -- it’s her voice again. You have a whole new set of characters, a whole new town, a whole new base, but you’ve got the rapid-fire dialogue and that wit and the humor that Gilmore had. So it’s exciting. And it’s exciting to hear Amy’s writing again on TV. I think Gilmore fans are going to love it.
Did it take much persuading when Amy offered you the role? Did you need to be convinced, or were you just kind of like, “Yes, I’ll do it!”
Sutton Foster: Amy and I met at the end of the summer last year. And I was, like, a superfan. But I didn’t know that she had a project in mind, you know, because at that time I don’t think the pilot had been picked up by ABC Family. But she wanted to meet me because she had me in mind for the show, but she didn’t mention it because she couldn’t. But I was like, “Oh my gosh, Gilmore Girls and ….” I was just, like, freak of a fan. She probably thought I was this weirdo.
And it was right before I was doing a performance of Anything Goes, and I hadn’t eaten, and she was meeting someone for dinner. So she just sat there and watched me eat. I was eating chicken fingers, and we laughed because she was like, “I just sat across from you and watched you eat chicken fingers, and I couldn’t tell you why I wanted to meet you.” But then two weeks later, my agent called and said, “Amy has written this pilot, and she wants you to star in it.” And I was like, “What is it? I’ll do it.” And he’s like, “Well, read the script first.” And I’m like, “Oh, okay, alright. Sure. Send me the script.”
And I had already made up my mind before I even read the script. It could’ve been about anything and I would’ve been like, “Yes, I want to work with this woman.” But then I read it, and I was like, “Oh, my gosh.” And then it just seemed like a no-brainer. So it really didn’t take much convincing.
You worked with Kelly Bishop in Anything Goes on Broadway and now again on Bunheads. Could talk a little bit about the relationship that the two of you have?
Sutton Foster: Well, when she came into Anything Goes, I freaked out because I’m such a fan of hers, and she’s just such an awesome lady. She’s Sheila from A Chorus Line. She’s awesome. Our relationship on the show is very specific, and we’re like sparring partners. But off-set, she’s very motherly, actually, and is always making sure I’m okay, and taking care of me. She’s just a wonderful woman. I’ll do a scene, and I’m like, “I can’t believe I’m acting with Kelly!”