Sutton Foster offers up some scoop on the BUNHEADS Winter Finale!
Tonight on ABC Family, BUNHEADS ends their first season with another great episode that finds Michelle following a dream, while the girls face the idea of growing up in a head-on fashion. To celebrate what’s been a fantastic season of the show, and what we might expect tonight and beyond for the series, I spent some time chatting all things Paradise, CA, with Sutton Foster (Michelle).
We talked at the beginning of the season about what we’ll see from Michelle. What can you tease for us about what we’ll see in the finale?
I think, for Michelle, we get to see more of the girls really turning to her for advice, for guidance, and are really kind of counting on her. There was the big fire in the town, in the forest, so the dance studio [became] an evacuation zone and Michelle was put in charge. Which again, is thrusting her into these positions of responsibility, and that’s her MO. She really is becoming more of a, I hesitate to say mother-figure to these girls, but she’s definitely becoming more of a parental figure to these girls. Really kind of looking over their choices, what they’re doing, and becoming more protective. The information from the last episode with Talia coming into town, and this job offer, it definitely sparked something in Michelle. She had a little envy of that. In the finale, we see Michelle go to a full on cattle call audition for a Broadway musical. She leaves Paradise, goes to LA, and we walk her through. There were 200 dancers; she’s one of many, and we walk her through a giant cattle call audition. She’s dipping her toe to see if there is still life for her as well.
We’re getting to see her put roots down in Paradise – is that something that Michelle realizes she wants yet?
There was a scene with her brother where she sort of, out of a fight with her brother, she turns to him, and says something along the lines of this is my life now. Bringing the Scotty character into the mix where he’s like, what are you doing, this isn’t you! She’s finally sort of saying to him, I’m changing my life, I can do this, this is what I want. I’m finally getting my act together! I think that was the first time we ever really saw her, and I think it shocked her as well, that she was so vehemently determined to stay here, and stay in town and change her life. That’s been, with all of these things, yes it’s new to her, but she’s learning change, and change isn’t easy. Yet, she’s still Michelle, and still has all of these other things that she was supposed to do, all of these dreams that she doesn’t want to quite let go of. She’s moving forward because she wants to be there, and lay roots down, but it’s still conflicting.
How do you approach a show like BUNHEADS vs a musical, a play, script wise, prep-wise. What’s different about the approach to TV, especially an Amy Sherman-Palladino show where you have so many words?
I think the biggest difference is that every day is a new challenge. Every day I have 10 pages of dialogue I have to memorize, and sometimes I get it the day before. What’s so great about this show is that I feel like the writing is so great, the writing is so strong, and I completely trust Amy and Dan, and the writers and where they are leading the characters, and how things are playing out. Most of the time, I try to get out of the way, and we all stay very verbatim with the script. There’s no real improv or going off script. The dialogue is a character within itself for the show, so we really, really take great pains to memorize and work on the dialogue pretty quickly. The biggest difference is that I have to leap – there is no time for rehearsal, or really figure something out. You have to leap and make choices and go for it. I’m sure if we had more time, things would play out differently, but there’s also something freeing about this locomotive and you just have to go, go. That’s something really fun. It was really scary at first. I’m used to having 6 weeks of rehearsal, and you spend weeks on a dance number, and sometimes we have 1 hour to learn something, and you’re putting it on film. You have to let go, and trust, and it’s actually very fun!
When we had the finale over the summer, Michelle left town. How is this Winter Finale different or similar to how we were left in the summer?
It definitely has a feel, what I love about this finale, is that I feel like the show opens. In the Summer Finale, that was “is she gone, will she be back?” Michelle massively messed up in the town, and the show could have gone and been about her life in Vegas, or it could have gone anywhere. In this one, it’s like the show opens up a whole new door. We’re headed down a brand new path. That, I think, is exciting. It stays in the town. It’s not like Michelle’s leaving town again, and it’s all “what’s going to happen?” Michelle is there, and a whole new sort of thing opens up. Especially with Michelle and the girls, so that’s how it’s left.
You have a great cast, and everyone seems to pop together – is there someone that’s on the show that you haven’t gotten to work a lot with that as the show continues you’d love to spend more time with?
I’ve been able to have some one-on-one scenes with all of the girls – I got to do a great scene with Ginny in this last episode; and done some with Sasha and with Boo, but I really want to have some time to Melanie. That’s the one Bunhead that I haven’t been able to have some one-on-one time, so that’s what I’d like to see – a Melanie/Michelle storyline!
The BUNHEADS Winter Finale airs tonight on ABC Family at 9/8c – for more info on the show, head to ABC Family’s BH page!