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Interview with Kelly Bishop of "Bunheads" on
ABC Family 6/8/12
Although it says "moderator" below, these are actually
questions asked by all different reporters.
ABC Familyís Q&A Session with Kelly Bishop -BUNHEADS
Moderator: Besides your relationship with Amy Sherman-Palladino, what
made you want to do Bunheads?
K. Bishop: Well, I love the character. I think she is so far removed from
Emily Gilmore, and I really kind of wantóas much as I totally enjoyed
that characteróthis oneís a completely different kind of woman and she
has the dance background, which I have, and it just seemed kind of like
a nice fit.
Moderator: Why do you think Gilmore Girls fans will like the show?
K. Bishop: Youíve got that same pacing and the clever dialogue and the
topical references and the historical references and all of the
incredibly intelligent things that Amy puts into her scripts. I mean,
you really have to be pretty sharp toóI felt that with Gilmore Girls and
I think with this show too. You have to be on top of it. You have to pay
attention, and the smarter you are, I think, the more you like it.
Moderator: You recently worked with Sutton Foster on stage in Anything
Goes Could talk about the relationship that the two of you have?
K. Bishop: When we did Anything Goes, she had been a big Gilmore Girls
fan; she told me when I joined the company. However, in that show, our
characters really did not interact at all. I mean, the only time I
really talked to her was as she was passing by my dressing room on her
way to her first entrance. Sheís so fabulous anyway. We all know that
sheís hugely talented, but sheís really a sweet, good lady anyway. So we
are having so much working together; itís ridiculous. In the pilot
episode Amy even saidówe shot at, we were sitting at the bar. I donít
know. Have you even seen the pilot episode?
K. Bishop: Yes, well, we were sitting at the bar and Iím grilling her,
weíre tossing back those drinks and Iím trying to figure out who she is.
At one point, Amy was directing that one and she said, ďThe fondness
that you two have for each other has started to come through here.Ē She
said, ďCut that off and just Ö now,Ē and we are just having so much fun
just playing together. I just think sheís a terrific talent, but she
also brings that theatre discipline to the set, which is something that
I enjoyed at Ö when we were doing Gilmore Girls. Weíre ready, willing
and able to get going as soon as itís time to work, and Sutton just
brings that right along with her and sheís a joy.
Moderator: Do you have a preference for live theatre versus TV?
K. Bishop: You know, they are so different and I love them both and I
couldnít quite decide. Itís sort of like if Iím doing one, I start
yearning for the other. When I was doing Anything Goes, and Iíve been
some stage work since Gilmore Girls. Iíve done some guest stuff too, but
I was doing plays, and I started thinking, ďBoy, I really miss working
the television thing.Ē Itís not the schedule. Schedule on television is
just horrendous in an hour-long show, but I miss the intimacy and there
are so many levels in television that Iíd missed. Of course, as soon as
Iím doing this for a little while, Iím starting to think about a live
audience again. So there are just very different techniques and there
are hardships and joys in both. So I donít think I do have a preference.
Moderator: What is it that you find particularly challenging about your
K. Bishop: Itís always challenging with Amy. Probably the very first
thing that happens with Amy Sherman-Palladino is learning those words,
because there are a lot of them. The challenges are really more
pleasures. Iím not running into a wall or gnashing my teeth over any
particular thing. It all is making sense to me and what Iím finding
rather than challenge, Iím finding a real delight in being able to open
up my personality in this character and being a little, oh I donít know
if zany is the right word, but a lot looser and doing things I would
never have done with Emilyówell, Emily Gilmore wouldnít have done some
of those things. Just some of my behavior is a little more outlandish,
and thatís so much fun to sort of free that up.
So weíll see. Iím sure there are challenges down the road, but right
now, Iím just grabbing on to those scripts and jumping inside, wrapping
myself up in them and having a good time.
Moderator: What are some of your memorable moments youíve had from
K. Bishop: I just saw it the other day, because I was doing some audio
work on itóthe second episode is really beautiful. Itís also very funny;
itís also very sad. So there is a section there, right at the end of it,
when I go into the ballet school. It turns out there are a lot of people
there. That was kind of wonderful.
Thereís an episodeóI canít remember the numbers of them nowówhere I need
to get my ballet floor fixed and I donít have the money for it. I do a
run on how she says, ďJust fix the floorĒ and I say, ďOh, just fix the
floor.Ē So just pay someone and have someone come in and fix the floor
and she says, ďYes.Ē So I start on to this ridiculous, sardonic fantasy
about all the places I could get the money, you know, at the end of the
rainbow and all these other things and then I freak out at the end of
it. So there are a few of those where I just kind of let it fly with
rage. Thatís something I donít think Iíve ever done on screen. So thatís
Moderator: Do you think youíll be making any references to Gilmore Girls
just to allude to it possibly on the show?
K. Bishop: Not yet, not yet. I donít know why we really would. I think
the closest we would come possibly is to have someó Well, we do have one
actor onóforgive me, and I canít remember his nameó who did Gilmore
Girls. So weíll probably have other actors on that did Gilmore Girls,
because Amy is loyal about that, and when she likes peopleís work, she
likes to hire them again. I think that, at this point, it would be a
dangerous thing to do. Itís sitting there, you know. Youíre going to
see, youíre going to be reminded of certain things in a completely
different environment, but things are going to remind you of Gilmore
Girls, so I think there would be a reluctance to bring in any
correlation, certainly at this point.
Moderator: So as we saw in the pilot, there are some very special sets on
this show, and especially with the main house and the dance studio. Do
you like a favorite item, or a feature, from either of those sets?
K. Bishop: Well if it was in the house, it would probably take me three
or four years to see every item in that house. Itís insane. Itís crazy.
There are clowns in there, kind of creepy clowns. Iím kind of enjoying
the clowns. Then, thereís a wall of cuckoo clocks. So, Iíve reallyóitís
amazing to go onto the set because there is so much stuff there that you
just keep wandering around and discovering other things if you can get
through the clutter. So I think itís the clowns though, because I find
them a little bizarre. I keep looking at them and thinking do they come
alive at night? When they shut down the lights and we all go away, do
they start dancing around in here? So that house is a trip.
I think the ballet studio is amazingówhat they built. Itís just
beautiful and workable too. You see people dancing on that set and so
itísóyou know. Of course there are pictures of me on there. There are
pictures of me when I was a danceróon the walls, in different places on
the set. So thatís always interesting to see yourself 40-50 years ago on
a wall. Iím always impressed with the set building. The crew knocked me
out. Iím just so amazed with what they do and the illusions they
accomplish is quite brilliant.
Moderator: What do you think Bunheads will be giving its teen viewers
that other teenage shows donít?
K. Bishop: Thereís something that Amy had said actually in the back
during Gilmore Girls. In creating Gilmore Girls, she had said, ďI am so
tired of seeing teenagers on television who are wearing makeup and
having dangly earrings and that are looking like little hookers walking
around, with these really overly sophisticated quips.Ē She said, ďI want
a show where a teenager is a teenager is a kid.Ē Thatís where she
created that Rory character in Gilmore Girls.
I think the four ballet dancer girls also have that same thing. Thereís
a level of innocence. Thereís a level of being allowed to be a kid and
not have to be an adult. Thatís going to come soon enough and that stays
with you forever after you hit maybe 21. So, I think itís that and also
seeing kids their age who are really dedicated to a goal, who have a lot
of discipline and who are struggling in the same ways. We havenít seen
this in all of these shows yet, but they have situations at school. They
have crushes on boys. They have this competitive environment in the
ballet school, but they have friendships that have developed there. So
theyíre really kids growing up, and I think thatís kind of a nice
role-model picture for kids.
I wanted to be very grownup when I was 12. I wanted to be 30. But, there
are other kids that donít particularly want to and they feel pressure, I
think, to push it along. This sort of allows them to say, ďOh, thatís
okay. Itís okay to be a kid; you donít have to push it.Ē
The girls are delightful and beautiful dancers. So I think theyíre going
to relate to it in a lot of ways using their own personal goals that
they can identify with. Iím curious to see how theyíll react to it, but
I think itíll be good.
Moderator: Much like the young characters on Bunheads, you grew up
studying dance. What did you like the best about it and what was the
hardest part of that lifestyle?
K. Bishop: What I liked best about it was simply dancing. I just love to
dance and I was actually watching a thing on the New York City Ballet
School. When you want to dance, when you need to dance and you love to
dance, itís just a wonderful world. Itís terribly hard. It takes you
away from any social life you have at school. I mean, I never went to an
after-school dance or a prom or a football game or any of those things,
and yet I didnít feel like I was missing anything. I would rather have
been taking another class at the ballet school.
So itís a completely different world. Itís very focused. You kind of
have tunnel vision actually. Itís just a very focused world, because
itís so very, very difficult. Ballet is really a hard discipline and it
takes years and years to just properly even do a position or a step. So
you get so wrapped up in that.
Itís also very beautiful. Itís exactly likeóI donít know if you know
that, but in A Chorus Line, I played a character who sang at the ballet,
which was a song that was written from my life story, from my
interviews, which was really very flattering to take my words and turn
them into the lyrics of a song. It was about how everything is beautiful
to ballet. There is a real romance to it. Itís a beautiful form of
dance. We all know how pretty ballet dancers are and how beautiful it
looks even if we donít understand it.
The hard part is having to dedicate yourself completely, and the good
part is how much fun it is and how romantic it is. Itís just a great
world if you love it. Itís true of gymnasts. Iím sure itís true of
athletes. Itís true of anyone who loves a particular thing. You just get
lost in it. I wish that everyone could find their dream and follow that
road, because itís really the way to live life. So Iím very, very happy
that my life worked out the way it did.
Moderator: For girls nowadays, considering your background and everything
youíve been through, would you recommend to young girls to study dance;
whether they do it for fun, or perhaps with professional pursuits in
K. Bishop: Absolutely. Iíve said this for years, and itís opening up for
boys a little bit more, because thereís always been such a stigma,
particularly about homosexuality, etc. Kids who learn to dance, and my
fondness is for ballet, because it is so tremendously difficult, but
just taking ballet lessons or it could be tap, it could be modern, it
could be jazzóballet is just a little more pure form in my humble
opinionóyou learn so much. You learn rhythm; you learn discipline; you
learn the proper alignment of your body and the communication between
your body and your mind. Itís just so much; the memory.
The things with dancers is dancers donít write things down. I mean even
with musicians you have music. With a dancer, it all goes into the
brain, and you look in the mirror, and you look at your teacher, and you
look at yourself, and you look at your other classmates, and thatís how
you learn. You also learn a little bit of French if youíre taking
ballet, because itís all in French. So right there, youíve got five
things that are very beneficial and itís actually fun. Youíre actually
moving through space to music. So thereís nothing wrong with it.
Usually, by the teenage years, the less-talented or less-driven dancers
will start to drop out because they do. They start having crushes on
boys and they do want to go to the football game and the after-school
hop or whatever they do these days. So the ones who donít have that
dedication will kind of move away, but the ones who do have it, will
continue on and be able to hopefully dance professionally, which is a
very hard life, but a really fun life.
Moderator: Thatís fantastic advice.
K. Bishop: Yes, I think itís great. If I had kidsóI donít have kidsóbut
if I had kids, they all would have taken ballet. Just to get startedónot
to push them into it or to have them become dancers, just to get that
body coordination and the strengthóyou get tremendous strength from
Moderator: Yes, basically, itís good for anyone, right?
K. Bishop: It really is. People can do it their whole lives. There are
all sorts of fun exercises out there. You know, cardio dance classes and
stuff, that everybody should do it as long as they enjoy it.
Moderator: What aspects of Bunheads do you think will appeal to Gilmore
K. Bishop: I think youíve got the cleverness and the dialogue and the
rapidity. You talk fast when you do Amyís work. Thereís a lot of humor
and itís that kind of humor I like. Iím not a big sitcom fan, because I
donít like having to sit and wait for an audience, especially a canned
laugh, to get done before we can move on with this. The thing thatís
always been so good about Amyís work is it can be deeply funny, but you
get it. Your brain says thatís funny, you guffaw and then, you have to
get back to paying attention again, because weíre moving on. Weíre not
waiting for you. So thatís going to be appealing to all the Gilmore Girl
There are again the topical references, there are the current events,
the historical references, and there is such certain joy in her work.
Itís something that I noticed I felt with Gilmore Girls, and it was
always brought back to me whenever I would watch it with the opening
credits, with the two of them sitting in the little cafť having a chat,
and of course, having the Youíve Got a Friend being the theme music, is
thereís always a sweetness; thereís an innate sweetness without it being
cloying at all, because thereís too much sharp banter going on and kind
of insanity for it to be icky.
But thereís always an overlying sweetness and a kindness and there
arenít ever any evil people. Everybody is always doing their best to
make their way through the world as well as they can. That seems to be a
really solid theme that I have noticed and itís something that I really
appreciate in Amyís writing. I think people will feel those connections
without thinking itís Gilmore Girls again. I hope.
Moderator: Do you have a favorite ballet that you can tell us about?
K. Bishop: A favorite balletóactually, when I was a kidóI was a ballet
theatre kid. We called it ballet theatre in those days. Itís now called
ABT and it was always American Ballet Theatre, but it was just referred
to differently. My favorite ballerina in that companyó and I saw Alicia
Alonso and Maria Tallchief and Nora Kaye, and some truly great
dancersóthere was a soloist who was a ballerina too. Her name was Lupe
Serrano and she was a tremendous jumper. She was a beautiful dancer, but
she could jump like a man.
There was a ballet that they did called Combat, which was about the
Crusades. It was one-act ballet and it was just this one woman and about
five or six men, and itís like a simple story of itís during the
Crusades or whatever and they all have their helmets on and she
accidentally kills her lover who is on the other side. It was just
extraordinary watching this woman dance and Iíve never seen the ballet
again. I donít know if it was actually created for her or whatever
happened to it, but that was my favorite one.
Another one the ballet theatre used to doóthis will tell you something
about my way of thinking as a dancer, because as much as I love Swan
Lake and Ö and all that sort of thing, what always tickled me and really
peaked my interest was things like Gaiety Parisienne, you know,
off-the-box sort of underworld sort of thing, and Shťhťrazade, which I
thought was such a really sexy ballet. Itís sort of like La BayadŤreóanother
one. I like those kinds of ballet that almost bring in a little bit like
a character essence rather than just a pure white ballet form. I like
the excitement that comes with those ballets. Itís just neat.
Moderator: What kind of dog is that in the background?
K. Bishop: Thatís a hound and she came from a shelter, but Iím looking at
her, and I think that sheís what theyíre called a Bluetick coonhound.
She came from down south. One of those hunting dogs, I guess, but she
was in Virginia and they moved her up to a shelter here in northern New
Jersey and I looked at those big eyes and those floppy ears and hounds
are about the sweetest dogs in the world. Iím a big dog lover anyway, so
thereís no breed I donít like, but I think thatís what she is, but sheís
probably just a mutt, like the rest of us.
Moderator: What kind of advice would you give some of the younger kids
you are working with? What do they need to know to survive?
K. Bishop: When I was coming to the set one dayóI hadnít been around for
a few days and they said, ďWell, yesterday was a tough day. There were
some dialogue problems.Ē What I kind of figured out is that they were
just struggling with their lines. I donít even know who it was exactly.
Iím not saying which people, because I donít know. They were just having
trouble with their lines in remembering them.
Amyís lines can be very complicated. They are not the easiest things to
learn, and I had an occasion to be sitting with the four of them. I
donít even know, as I said, who was there when that happened. I said,
ďYou know how you would not go on stage to do a number if you didnít
know the choreography?Ē and theyíre going ďAhah, ahah,Ē and I said, ďYou
donít go in front of a camera if you donít know your dialogue, and so
you learn your dialogues before you get there.Ē Somehow when I connected
the choreography to the lines, it was like, ďOh, yeah, of course.Ē
So itís little things like that that Iím kind of Ö and p.s. theyíre very
disciplined kidsóI call them kidsóI donít know even how old they are.
They have a lot of discipline, because they have the ballet training and
theyíre beautiful dancers, so itís not like it just kind of happened and
they arenít beginners.
Itís just a whole new medium for them and I think itís a little
confusing, because with dance and even with singing, you have something
which you can kind of hold onto. With dance, itís the accomplishment of
the step and you can see it in the mirror. With singing, itís the
accomplishment of the sound and you can hear it. With acting, itís a
very nebulous thing. Itís a matter of opinion. One of them asked me, and
bless her heart, she said, ďHow do you know if itís right?Ē And itís all
you can do is trust your director. When itís right for them, theyíre
going to print that take and youíre going to move onto the next scene.
So donít worry about judging that yourself. Put that out there and let
them worry about that.
They ask me questions here and there, but theyíre justótheyíre so sweet
and I think theyíre happy. They are so happy. Theyíre having so much fun
doing this, and I would be too if I had been a dancer at their age and
had gotten an opportunity to act. I would have been thrilled. So theyíre
a happy bunch. Iím sure Iíll be giving advice all the time. Iíve got a
Moderator: As characters, you and Sutton are already butting heads in the
pilot. They donít really get each other. Can you talk a little bit about
that evolution in the next couple of episodes? Do they start to relate a
little bit better?
K. Bishop: Well, they seem to be trying to. Theyíve been thrown together
and they now are so stuck with each other, and so I think that what
happens in that pilot episode is that Fanny realizes that this marriage
is going to be and that thereís nothing she can do about it and thatís
why she takes Michelle to the bar and she has some drinks with her,
because sheís trying to figure out who she is. Itís like okay, and then
she makes the comment, ďI love my son. I want him to be happy, so letís
see if we can dance together.Ē So there is an effort, but you know what
it is? Theyíre both very strong women and they are strong-willed women.
So theyíre constantly rubbing up each other the wrong way, and they are
two different generations.
Somebody asked me the other day about the mother-daughter thing and I
said, but it isnít really that, because Iím not her mother. Weíre just
two women who are in a situation and we sort of have to deal with each
other. So thereís a little common ground that comes together and just
about the time you think oh, isnít that nice, then something goes wrong
again. Not wrong, but there are two different opinions again. So I think
thatíll probably continue toóconflict is always much more interesting
Moderator: What does the relationship between Fanny and Boo mean to you?
Is that something that maybe hits home for you?
K. Bishop: I think with Fanny, and Iíve noticed it when I was a
danceróthere are dancers Ė now, p.s. Kaitlynís a beautiful dancer, but
she doesnít have the like the skinny, skinny body and that whole thing
going and I remember dancers whoóactually, her body is quite good. She
has a little more weight on her, but thatís a requirement of the role.
That was important that there would be one girl who was heavier and
apparently, she lost weight and they went to her and said you have to
put it back on again. Well, because that girl, thatís the way the
character breakdown went and she was supposed to be bigger than the
I remember dancers like that. They loved to dance and they were good
dancers, but not even so much like with Kaitlyn, because sheís got the
body, but there would be people who just didnít have the physicality to
be able to accomplish that, even when I was studying. Studying in class
with these same people and Iíd see how dedicated they were and how hard
they worked, but letís say their feet werenít good. They just didnít
have good feet and they were never going to have good feet.
Youíd kind of look at them and you feel really badly, because you knew
this person certainly was not going to be a ballerina. That kind of
dancer could go on to be a jazz dancer or do some other kind of dancing,
but I think thatís what Kaitlynís character is about. Itís like not
every little dance that comes into class is perfect and has the perfect
turnout and the perfect foot and the perfect extension, but she has the
perfect love for it. So to me thatís always a sympathetic position.
Sheís a sweet girl. Sheís not only sweet in life, but her character is a
very sort of insecure, really sincere kid. She really wants to dance and
Fanny totally recognizes that in her and appreciates it. She wants her
to be realistic, but she sees whatís there.
Fannyís not a mean woman. She wants to turn out good dancers and since
she loved to dance so much, she always is going to appreciate a dancer
who truly loves to dance. Yes, weíve a those couple of nice moments in
scenes together. Yes, I think thatís developing.
Moderator: How much influence do you actually have over the choreography
or how dance is portrayed in the show?
K. Bishop: None. We have a wonderful choreographer, Marguerite, and
actually, sheís really quiteóyouíll see in these episodes. Youíll see it
in the second episode and the fifth and now, there may be others that I
havenít seen. Sheís a really interesting choreographer. I mean, she
demands a lot of these dancers, but the choreography is not staid or
predictable to another dancer in any way. Itís really interesting and
her patterns are pretty. Sheís very, very good, and I donít.
What I can bring to it as an actor is the knowledge of the dance and I
can every once in a while, itíll be a thing like if Iím stepping into
camera and theyíre doing a step that I can say to the cameramen or the
director or to the choreographer, ďI think itís better if I come in when
theyíre doing the passť or before they do the Ö rather than wait until
the Ö.Ē So I can talk the talk and I understand what theyíre doing. So I
can bring that to the role, but I donít have any say in the choreography
or the staging. Thatís not my department.
Moderator: Your character, Fanny, runs a ballet school. Does that
interest you in maybe having your own ballet school in real life?
K. Bishop: No. It never did. Thatís something that dancers do,
particularly, in the ballet world, but you know you have a short career
if itís just the physicality. Itís like any other athleteóyou hit your
mid-thirties, then the challenges are too great. The body has been
really battered through all of those years and itís time to start
finding another road. And many, many dancers open ballet schools. A lot
of them become choreographers, but the ballet school thing makes sense
especially if theyíve had a successful say a Broadway career or a ballet
careeróthey have a great starting point.
I never really wanted to be a teacher. I have taught class. Part of my
training at the ballet school I went to, which was a very, very serious
Russian-influenced ballet schoolówe did have to at the end of the year,
the advanced class would have to pick younger students and it couldnít
be a soloistóitís a two to ten, I thinkóand create a choreographic
number for them, for the presentation for the parents at the end. So
that was great training, because you had to pick your music, you had to
pick your dancers; you had to choreograph the number.
I also at one point, like in the early Ď80ís, I was out in California
and I was taking a ballet class at a school in Toluca Lakeóa very good
school, by the way. I was talking to the teacher. I was just taking
adult classes, and I saw how tired she was and I said to her, ďIf it
ever gets to be too much, Iíd be happy to teach.Ē I was thinking of the
She ended up giving me about the middle ranged kids, about eleven and
twelve. I taught that for several months, but itís just not my thing. I
think I was a good teacher, but itís just not my love. Iím too much of a
performer. I reallyóa lot of actors want to directóI donít want to
direct either. I just like acting. So itís not ever been anything I want
Moderator: We learn a little bit about Fannyís back story in the pilot.
Are we going to see more in the future episodes?
K. Bishop: I donít know. I think so. I havenít had any discussions with
Amy about this and the same thing weirdly happened with Gilmore Girls. I
had my ideas of where Emily came from and what her back story was and it
was so strange. Like episodes go by and then suddenly something would
pop outóa little bit of exposition would pop out about Emily and her
background and Iíd go, ďOh my God! Thatís exactly what I was thinking.Ē
We had never discussed it.
So I have some ideas that I have gleaned from what weíve shot so far and
what has been said about me that thatís my picture in my head of whatís
happened, but yes, Iím sure stuff will start to come out. Right now,
sheís in the process of introducing the characters, introducing the
relationships, really setting up the stage as it were so that the
audience has an idea and an understanding of who these people are and
how they interact. Once thatís all set, Iím sure new characters will be
coming in all the time.
Then I think it will start to expand on exactly the backgrounds of the
main characters. Certainly, weíre going to find out more and more about
them, but I havenít had any discussions about that. Iím one of those
people that donít like to open a present before itís time. Even as a
kid, I never went up and went through my stuff to see what my Christmas
present was going to be. I love surprises, and itís not a lack of
curiosity, itís actually an enjoyment in anticipating whatís going to
happen. So I donít even ask. I donít probe. I just want to see whatísó
Moderator: Is there something little that you can share that you have
pictured in Fannyís back story?
K. Bishop: Well, I just learned that she went out of town to study. She
left her home. She went out of town to study ballet when she was 16. I
found that out, and with her parentís approval. I mean, they were
packing her up and sending her off to some ballet school out of town.
So I know thatóthat she was out there and she probably never moved back
home, I would think after that. She probably got into a company, I would
venture to say, by 17-18, and then she was off in her dance world until
she met that fellow who impregnated her, who Iím guessing was probably
another dancer. I donít even know that. In my mind, I have him as some
gorgeous Russian that we had a Ö together and continued it offstage.
Moderator: You had said Emily Gilmore and Fanny are totally very
different characters, very different women, but do you think thereís any
Emily Gilmore in Fanny at all?
K. Bishop: Oh, probably, just because of me, you know. I donít really
think. I donít, but I know itís my face, itís my voice, itís my
mannerisms even though Iím not trying to do the same thing, but there is
just me and you just simply canít avoid that. I really donít. I donít
see the backgrounds as the same; I donít see the inner life and the
desires. I donít see anything in them thatís the same. I donít think
theyíd like each other very much. I think Fanny would only like Emily if
Emily would give money to the school. I think thatís the only way sheíd
Moderator: Do you see or keep in touch with any of the cast or crew like
Lauren or Alexis or Edward?
K. Bishop: I do. Lauren and I email. Alexis was just opening a play a
couple of months ago and I went to her opening night at her invitation.
I mean, we donít have a running dialogue or anything. And Yanic, who is
back up in Canada, he was Michel, I think heís got a television series
up in Canada that heís starting up, and so we share.
You know itís drifted off. It was a lot more in the beginning. Our lives
just kind of take over and pull us in other directions. Ed Herrmann and
I have a regular email conversation and when I was out in LA last couple
of trips ago, he was out there doing a guest spot on a show and so we
got together and had brunch on a Sunday.
Are there other people? I have the emails and phone numbers of some of
the crew. Not too many of the other actors, but weíre always delighted
to see each other. Actually, the last episodeóJamie Babbit directed the
last episode of Bunheads and she was a fairly regular director on
Gilmore Girls so people keep coming back in. Itís probably, mainly, Iíd
say at this point itís Ed and Lauren who I have the most contact with.
Moderator: What was your experience as a young dancer? Where your peers
equally supportive and competitive in that environment or was it more
one or the other?
K. Bishop: No, Iíd say it was just like any other environment like an
office environment or a school or whatever. You start to develop
friendships with individual people. That happened at ballet. You just
get your little girlfriends and you are certainly competing. Once you
get into class youíre competing and thereís not like a meanness to it or
a fierceness to it. Youíre just competing. Youíre trying to out-dance
them and theyíre trying to out-dance you, but then as soon as you leave
the classroom, the oneís that you like, you go over to their house and
you do a sleepover or you get together on a Saturday after class and go
My closest friendships during my childhood with the other dancers,
because theyíre the ones I saw all of the time. I had very few friends
in school. A couple of them were amazingly loyal, because they got very
frustrated with me since I couldnít join them or wouldnít join them in
the social aspect. I really think itís like any other competitive
environment. There are certain people you just kind of take to and you
like, but the dancing is kind of a separate thing altogether. Youíre
just competing with everybody when youíre dancing. It doesnít matter who
it is, and then your friends later.
Moderator: Which do you think is more important in ballet, passion or
K. Bishop: Thatís hard to say. First of all, there is no perfection in
ballet. I think thatís one of the most interesting things about it, and
you can probably ask the greatest living dancer today and he or she
would say that they are not perfect. You just canít attain it. They get
better and better; Iím telling you todayís dancers are so much better
than we were. Itís true of all athletes. Theyíre just doing things that
we never even imagined, but you the striving for perfection is what
I think you have to have the passion, because itís just too hard and
there are too many sacrifices you have to make in the world. Even in
just the social life and in any kind of a life, if you donít have the
passion, you might get a couple of professional jobs, but you wonít
stick with it because itís too hard. There are other ways to make a
living that donít drain you and beat you up and hurt you the way dancing
does. So I guess if itís one or the other, it would have to be the
Moderator: In your career you played a lot of motherly-type characters.
Do you actively go out and seek those, or maybe there is a little bit of
type-casting going on?
K. Bishop: Yes. Whatís funnyóyou said Ďmotherlyí. Iíve played a lot of
mothers. I donít know how motherly they were. That just happens. Itís
what the world is, because when I first started acting out of my dance
career, it seemed like I was always playing Tootsies or something. I
guess, because I had a nice body and because I was sexy and everything.
It was always like sort of a hooker or sort of the tootsie and Iím going
what is this?
Then, when I reached my late thirties, early forties, then came the
mother roles. I was never the type to have an infant. Youíll notice, if
you look back on my career, I never had a baby or a toddler. I always
had a teenager. I think thatís what people envision.
What does a woman do with her life? I didnít have children. I had my
career and happily so, but I think thatís just whatís written and if I
was the right type of mother for a given situation, then off Iíd go and
get the job. I think it just happened. Well, itís that Sondheim song,
you know, Iím still here. What are the great lyrics? ďFirst youíre
another sloe-eyed vamp. Then someoneís mother, then youíre camp!Ē This
is just an evolution of living your life as an actor.
Moderator: If you had a dream actor or actress that you would like to
play their mother, who would that be?
K. Bishop: I have so much fun playing different people and now I canít
think. Now youíve got me, because I canít think of anybody offhand.
There are a lot of wonderful young actresses out there. I mean, even
like Scarlett Johanssonís mother, although I donít look like her at all.
I canít think of anyone offhand, but Iíve had some wonderful daughters,
besides Lauren Graham and Jennifer Grey, but Linda Fiorentino of all
people, in an obscure movie called The Queenís LogicóIíve had all these
wonderful acting children. I feel very proud of them. I would like to
watch their careers flourish, because they were my children. Honestly,
Iím sorry, I canít think of anyone right now.
Moderator: Will they sneak in a little solo of you dancing on the show
K. Bishop: I almost hope not, but I would like to dance. I havenít really
danced much since I did one little thing where I do a little turn,
because Iím by myself and looking at myself, and of course, Iíve got
that little stuff that I do with Sutton and at the end of thoseóthe
pilot. I donít know. Itíd be kind of fun rather than ballet, because
ballet is really not my thing anymore as far as my body goes. It justóI
mean, I still understand that I could Waltz and maybe a couple of Ö
pirouettes or something like that, but Iím really a little old to dance,
so letís see what comes down the line. Maybe thereíll be some jazzy
thing that I can do. That I can accomplish. That I can do.
Moderator: I think they do a little scene in one of the trailers that it
looks like theyíre kind of picking up to more upbeat music.
K. Bishop: Yes, thatíd be fun. Yes, I think that we are going to explore
all sorts of territories as time goes on. As I said, I think right now,
this is all about establishing it and getting it set and getting it so
that the audience remembers whoís who and what the relationship is and
all of that incidental stuff is going to come in. Weíll see. I hope so.
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