Talking ANGER MANAGEMENT, HART OF DIXIE, and “Kentucky Dirty” with Laura Bell Bundy

Laura Bell Bundy is, in a word, busy. She’s starring as the female lead on FX’s ANGER MANAGEMENT, filming a recurring role on The CW’s HART OF DIXIE, and making her infectious country music with a hip-hop feel (and videos to go along), all the while approaching everything with the same amount of excitement.  When we spent some time chatting last week, LBB was heading to an early-call-time for HOD and wrangling her dogs (while mine barked away in the background).

There was a lot of talk about ANGER MANAGEMENT in the news over the summer – Selma left, you came in.  I wondered what the process was – did you know people involved, or was it your typical audition process?
It was a classic audition process.  I didn’t even know Selma Blair was no longer involved in the show.  I literally had no idea of anything that had gone down.  I just got the breakdown for this character that they were bringing on to ANGER MANAGEMENT, and it was like “oh cool!”  I was on tour in Europe with Rascal Flatts, and I wasn’t available to come in.  They asked me if i would put myself on tape, my agent said, and I was like, “no, I’m drunk and in Europe and I’m staying this way!” [laughs] And then I came back into town.  That was like two weeks before I came back, and they still hadn’t found anybody, and they asked me to come in.  It was the classic audition process with the producers, and then I came back, and met Charlie. And then, tapes and everything went to network and studio.  And then I was told that I got the role.  It really felt like one of those situations, where, because of the timing of it all – initially not being available, and how well I got along with Charlie, that it felt kind of like a Fate-ish kind of thing.  I’ve really just had a great time.  I seriously went into the situation not knowing anything was going on [laughs].

AM_1052_0807It’s almost better to come in with a clean slate and not know what’s happening.
For me, it’s a completely clean slate.  It’s a new character; it’s new work environment.  I come in, and I’m happy to be there.  It’s about the work – it’s about doing my best, and making people laugh and having a good time in the process.  I don’t think about any of the extra drama because it’s none of my business.

Talk a bit about the character, Jordan, and what she brings to ANGER MANAGEMENT.
She’s a little bit of a hot mess! [laughs] Which is my favorite kind of character to play.  She is a recovering alcoholic.  She is a little bit emotionally unstable.  Her husband just left her.  She’s in a transitional period in her life where she’s trying to keep it all together, and her uncle has basically helped her get this job.  Charlie didn’t have a choice.  She got the job, and not only that, she’s his boss.  AM_1051_0635The relationship there is contentious. And she’s a real pain in his ass.  But, she does mean well, she does want to work hard.  They are doing this sex study together and she gets squeamish about watching the people having sex.  She wants to just interview people about how they get sex, instead of actually watching them.  She that makes her feel weird. And she’s a little buttoned up when it comes to that stuff.  She believes that sex is about love, but she just had her heart broken, and Charlie’s a hot mess – he’s running around, drinking, and gambling. Having sex with all of these people [laughs], so she doesn’t judge him for that.  She recognizes that he could bring out the worst in her.

I like that it’s a contentious relationship – gives you a lot of stuff right off the bat to play with.
I think it’s going to be a love hate thing.  Already, they have Jordon coming around for him and helping him, and him doing the same for her.  And I think that it’s sort of a little Hepburn/Tracy thing going on!

Why should people be tuning into ANGER MANAGEMENT?
It’s funny, but I also think it’s funny for, if you’re a young person, and you’re hip, you’re not afraid to talk about sex, you’re not afraid to talk about alcohol or issues or whatever, it kind of works for you, because it’s not hiding anything.  There are some sitcoms that hide things.  We say “son of a bitch” in the show, we say “asshole” – it’s FX.  It’s like a sitcom, but it’s really modern in that way.  It’s more realistic.

I think about a lot of the FX and now FXX comedies / dramas – it’s the littlest things like being able to say asshole that really does make them feel “real.”
That is exactly it.  Not that that’s the key, saying asshole, but it just sort of snaps you into “oh this is cool.”

Had you ever met Charlie before? 
I had never met him before; I only thought he was super cute in HOT SHOTS: PART DEUX [laughs].  I’ve always thought he was hilarious, but I did not know what a freaking he is, comedic timing wise.  He just makes comedy look so easy.  He just lands it every time.  He’s in the pocket, in the pocket of comedic timing perfectly, and I’m like, “oh my god, how do you do that?”  And that’s why he keeps working!   We got along so great.  The very first meeting, he gave me a bear hug, and I was taken aback [laughs], and I was just there about the work, and trying to make the scene work, and on a work level, I think we work really well together.  I’m really experimental in terms of how I like to work.

It’s very theater of me to go “well what if I do this and this?” and make suggestions, and I think he was a little surprised [laughs].  They’ve been doing 50 episodes already and I come in like a puppy dog, let’s try this, let’s try that, and he’s like, um okay [laughs].  We’re having fun together, and we go over lines together.  We’re becoming friends; we’re really becoming buddies, and it feels like I’ve known him longer than I have really, and I think he gets a bad rap.  He’s an incredibly generous person, and a non-judgmental person, and a happy person.  He makes other people who work with him feel good.

I think that’s all you can ask for.  If you can go to work and feel good about being there, is there anything better?
Yeah! Totally, and sometimes personalities don’t necessarily click.  I think our personalities definitely click.  We’re both positive people; we both like to have fun, and that’s our goal.  To do that, and to do great work, period.  If it stops being fun, we have to take a step back and go “why isn’t this fun?” [laughs]

Laura+Bell+Bundy+Layered+Necklaces+Layered+X67_0COA_zWlYou’re off to film on HART OF DIXIE today – love Shelby!  She’s such a fun character, and I worried at the beginning of the season that the end of Brick and Shelby meant the end of Shelby! What brings you back?
I think what brings Shelby back is that she loves the town.  She loves the town.  She doesn’t want to miss out on Blue Bell.  I think that’s the biggest thing there.  There are other things – I think she ultimately misses Brick and wants to get Brick back.  You are not gonna believe how it goes down! [laughs]  It is hilarious.  It was a shocker for me!  And that’s all I can say!

If It Makes You HappyI love, too, the relationship with Jamie’s character – Lemon and Shelby have such great contention.  Will we see any of that when your episodes start airing?
Oh, you know what sucks about it is that this is my 4th episode of HART OF DIXIE this season; they’ll start airing in three weeks, because I’ve been on hiatus from ANGER MANAGEMENT and able to do that.  But, Jamie just had a baby – she had it the week I started, and I never saw her!  I have no scenes with Jamie!!  Jamie and I?  We have fun in those scenes!  My whole goal is to make her laugh, it always has been, and I’ve actually gotten in trouble for it.  There was one point where the crew was like, okay, we’d really like to get out of here tonight.  I have a great time with her, and I miss her, but I’m so happy for her that she has that happy, healthy baby!

webWhat’s going on in your music world these days?
I just put out a song called “Two-Step” this summer – in July on iTunes, and a video, and the video has done really well.  We have a little over a million views right now.  Yeah, that’s all going well!  And then I have another song coming out called “Kentucky Dirty,” because I’m from Kentucky – I don’t know if you know this, but basically, my character on HART OF DIXIE is me imitating my mother. And if you love Shelby then you’ll love my mother!  She is full of energy and life.  Her name is Lorna, and it’s like “what would Lorna do here?”  And that’s how I keep my character grounded, honest-to-God.  Shelby could be doing insane things that have no point – if I think about how my mom would do it, then it starts to make sense, and it stays grounded, and all that kind of stuff.  But anyway! Music-wise, I’m putting out another song called “Kentucky Dirty,” and another video (Nov 5 for the song; Nov 12 for the video). And I’m doing these mix-tapes which are basically combining hip-hop and country music together.  Popular songs – mashing them up, and I put them out once a month, and they include a brand new original song that people haven’t heard from me. The whole point of me doing music right now is doing kind of country music that people can dance to.  So yeah, just going to continue to do that, and put music out.  I still do shows, and the music is continuing to involve.  It’s hard to do it all, but I’m still trying!

ANGER MANAGEMENT airs Thursday nights at 8/7c on FX.  HART OF DIXIE airs Monday nights at 8/7c on The CW.  “Kentucky Dirty” is available on iTunes NOW!