A newcomer to Hollywood prior to Bunheads, Bailey Buntain landed the role of “Ginny Thompson” shortly after graduating from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York.
SHAKEFIRE: I know you’re a classically trained ballerina but you do have a lot of jazz numbers in the show, do you find them more difficult or just as easy to learn and do you enjoy them as much as ballet?
BAILEY BUNTAIN (BB): I actually was trained equally; my core training was in ballet, jazz, and tap. Much like Ginny, my body type—I’m really short—always lent itself better to the jazz and tap style so I find all the dances pretty equally challenging. I’ve had my favorite that’s for sure. My favorite dance number that we ever do is actually in the finale, and so I’m so excited to see how that one turns out.
SF: Do you have any say at all in what your character does, as far as her lines do you have any input at all?
BB: I don’t really have a big say in it and I don’t know if I would want a say in it. I don’t know if I want that responsibility! I love everything that the writers do and it surprises me, the things that they do, but I always understand the series of events that lead to it.
SF: Since this is your first like major role in a TV show I was wondering how the experience has been different going in to these episodes starting in JanuaryHow has that experience been different in this new batch and with all the fun things you guys are doing?
BB: In these second episodes I really had the opportunity to like do a lot of things just because Ginny is dealing with so much and she’s totally turning in to her mother so she tends to like bottle it all in, and then she’ll freak out, and so it’s definitely been really fun.
It’s been challenging but in a great way. There’s a lot of dancing and there’s a lot more—there’s a lot of dancing in these eight episodes; a lot of different styles. I think we don’t ever repeat a style. We do ballet and we do a jazz. We do a funky one. There’s been a lot of variation, and it’s been different than the first ten just because there is more, but it’s more the same. It’s more of the same stuff we were doing in the first ten so it was kind of a nice little preparation before they put us in to like super gear. It’s been really fun. I actually just started hiatus and I’m missing it. I’m starting to talk at like a normal pace and I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
It’s showing how much she’s becoming a part of our lives, and Michelle definitely still has a lot of stuff to go through as far as what she’s going to do with her career in musical theatre and auditioning and stuff. For Ginny -she’s got some fun stuff coming up ahead, I’ll tease that, but it mainly just showed the relationship between Michelle and Ginny.
SF: What was it about the character Ginny that made you want to play her besides the dancing aspect of it?
BB: I was a really big fan of Amy Sherman-Palladino so I would have been so over the moon to play any character that she writes because she writes such quirky and fun characters. But some of my favorite things about Ginny is I love that she takes care of people. She totally thinks she’s an adult even though she’s not, and so she’s constantly trying to take care of everyone and their friends. I mean like organize things and orchestrate things and I love that about her.
I also like that she has a lot of like gusto and fire in her and that’s a lot of time what totally like winds her and freaks her out, but she doesn’t quite have the confidence to follow through anything. In this last episode she has so much fire, she’s so ready to go get Frankie and then she just losses all confidence and all follow through, and I like that about her. And especially as we develop more as a show and our characters get to develop more I find new things out about her, and so these eight have been really fun because I really got to explore more of who she is.
SF: How are you similar and different to Ginny?
BB: I am similar to Ginny. She’s a little bit of an old soul and that’s definitely something that I really do as well. I think I’m different in the sense of she doesn’t have a problem expressing her feelings, and I’m not quite as quick to the tongue as she is.
Ginny particularly goes through a lot of stuff right now with her dad left her and her mom to go be with Faye Mendelsohn and they’re getting married, so that right there is not easy to deal with. And then her mom is going crazy and everyone knows that her mom is going crazy. She’s just at a point where she’s going through a lot of stressful things, and she feels like you’re my best friend, you should be supporting me and be there for me. Melanie is going through her own stuff and she’s trying to find herself. She’s not there and so that hurts Ginny’s feelings. On top of it this new girl comes in (Cozette) and Ginny just feels like so threatened, like “Who is this new girl. My friend is not here for me” and I think she takes all of that out on Cozette. She blames it all on Cozette because it’s easier to decipher her feelings as opposed to what’s happening to her and Melanie’s friendship.
But I do think that friendships go through changes, especially when they’re long-term friendships, when you’ve been friends since you were, you know, like two. I don’t think that this strain is something that’s going to be permanent. I just think they’re having a growing phase, and I think that as Ginny gets used to the shift in dynamic with the new girl and as she feelsmore comfortable again with the group of four girls I think it will be okay. I just think they’re going through some growing pains.
SF: Do you think we’re going to actually get to see the wedding and actually meet Ginny’s father and soon-to-be step-mom? Is that going to play out this season or are you allowed to say?
BB: Well, we actually met Faye Mendelsohn sort of. She was jumping on the trampoline, but some stuff does happen with the family but I can’t really say if we’ll see the wedding or not.
SF: Could you talk a little bit about working with Sutton Foster and the other girls’ relationship off set? Do you guys hang out together? What’s all that like?
BB: Yes! I mean our hours are crazy so we’re together all the time and really get to know people, and lucky we all get along really great. Sutton is like a really great balance of being nice and fun but also super professional. Like working with her and being around her has been such an influential learning experience because she’s just such a pro as an actor but she’s also an amazing person. She’s so funny. Trust me I can’t say enough nice things about her.
Then the other four girls yeah we’re friends. We’re together like all the time when we’re filming. Me and Julia car pool a lot, which was really fun because, as you know, LA traffic is horrible so that right there is a couple hours that we would spend together. And then me and Emma actually just went and saw a production of Peter Pan last week. We wrapped filming but I’m sure we’re still going to all see each other because I’ve seen all of them since we wrapped and it’s been a week and a half so we’ll see each other.
SF: Before Bunheads you were a newcomer to Hollywood. What’s it like to have this first big role?
BB: Awesome. It’s really awesome. I’m super thankful. If you had told me that I would have gotten to work with Amy and Sutton and Kelly and this group of people I would have fainted and not believe you so it’s been really great.
SF: You have other talents such as baton twirling. Do you think some of your other talents will come in to play on the show?
BB: Oh my gosh, I never thought of that. That would be hilarious. I feel like Ginny probably does know how to baton twirl. I don’t know. Yeah I baton twirled for years. I do still do it. I’ve never done the fire batons and I’ve always wanted to so maybe. Who knows; if we get to keep going maybe Ginny needs to take up some fire baton twirling because Bailey really wants to learn how to do that.
SF: We’ve seen Ginny have more crushes and boyfriends than any of the other girls so do you think we’re going to see Charlie again or Josh again or more like chemistry with Frankie? Can you talk about that?
BB: Yeah! I did something right with the writers that they’ve given me all these cute boys. I don’t know as far as Josh and Charlie how that’s going to come in to play. I do know that the dynamic with her and Frankie continues to grow. I think that she had the same boyfriend forever and so the second—it’s kind of like she was married so the second she didn’t have that it was like she just went a little boy crazy. You know had crushes on everyone. Frankie particularly is such a mystery and she just could not figure him out. He’s nothing like the boys in Paradise, and I think that like excites her, confuses her, all the above, and with everything that’s going on in her family life and with her friends her whole life is kind of like spinning around, and things with her and Frankie definitely grow as the next two episodes happen. And you see him shirtless in this one so…
SF: Is there somebody on the show that you’d like to work more with if you really haven’t had a chance to have a whole lot of scenes with?
BB: If you would have asked me that a few weeks ago I would have said Sutton only because we had really only explored Michelle’s relationship, at least as far as I was concerned, with all four of us and her. I really got the opportunity to kind of explore just how Michelle influences Ginny, which was really fun. So that would have been the first one but luckily I got to see that.
I would love to have a little bit more interaction directly with my mom. So far there are a lot of us individually and there are a lot of us talking about each other, but I have that dinner scene with Melanie and her dad and me and my mom. It was so much fun, and we had such a great time so I really hope that I get to do more with them, and Claire is like—I love Kiersten Warren and she plays Claire. She’s amazing and funny and I would love to be able to do more with her.