Laura Bell Bundy, who made ripples last year with her sexy “Giddy On Up” music video, is back, co-starring with Ricky Schroder in a new CMT movie, To the Mat. In the film, Bundy portrays an uptight Wall Street consultant who tries to help Schroder’s character save his wrestling school.
To the Mat is the first made-for-TV film to be released as part of the CMT Original Movies franchise, a newly-formed division of the network.
During a visit to CMT, the boisterous Bundy chatted about her wrestling alter ego, the numerous people who make her laugh and the multiple creative projects she’s nurturing.
CMT: You’re a Southerner and Ricky’s the New Yorker, but in the movie those roles get switched.
Bundy: Right. I mean, I’ve lived in New York, obviously, but Ricky was born in Brooklyn. I was raised in Kentucky, and I’m playing the New Yorker and he’s playing the Southerner from Georgia. And he had to have an accent, and I wasn’t allowed to have one at all. Every once in a while, I’d get notes from the director going, “OK, your talk is getting slow and you’re falling into the patterns of everybody else.” And I didn’t see it. I totally didn’t see it. I couldn’t even catch myself. I was totally unaware of myself.
What’s Ricky Schroder like to work with? Did you absolutely hate him?
Yeah, it was terrible. Totally horrible experience. (laughs) No, Ricky’s a great person, and he’s a great actor. He’s a pro. He’s been doing this for so long. He has the directing bug now, so he’s very aware of the cameras and the lights and the shot and everything. He’s in that world, whereas I’m really, really aware of all the comedic moments. So I think we complimented each other in that way. We’re both big kids, and we had a lot of fun.
If you were a wrestler, what would your character be?
Laura Bell Booty-Breakin’ Bundy. Or Booty-Shakin’ or something.
What would she wear?
She would wear … oh, my God, I would have to do a full-on character. I don’t think I could be me. I think I would have to create a character that had a crazy outfit that had a cape, like purple, pink and blue, shiny, like a Barbie or something. With like a big cape. And I would just jump on people and dance on them.
Ricky Schroder said you kept everyone entertained during the filming and were making everyone laugh. Who makes you laugh?
I’m like a huge fan of shock value. I just love shock humor. Actually, the people who make me laugh the most are flamboyant gay men. Let’s be honest, right? Us girls, we have our handful of gay guys that just make us laugh. I have some friends — my friend, Amber, that I grew up with in Kentucky, makes me laugh. My friends Paul and Wade make me laugh. My daddy kinda makes me laugh. And Sasha Baron Cohen makes me laugh. Blake [Shelton] makes me laugh. Also, Carol Burnett makes me laugh.
Who are some of your favorite country music artists?
I think Dolly Parton is my No. 1. Loretta Lynn, as well. I love Jerry Reed. People always forget Jerry Reed. He is an incredible picker, player and also very funny and had a great sense of humor. He wasn’t really much of a singer, but he did his speak talk. My first record was very inspired by him. The “Giddy on Up” rap section was called my Jerry Reed rap, and I really wanted it to have that kind of vibe.
And obviously, I have some friends whose music I love. Miranda Lambert, I love her music. And I love her new group, Pistol Annies. I love that music. To me, that’s all I want to listen to. I love that stuff. And Blake because he’s an entertainer. Love Shania Twain, love Reba. I love people who kind of have a little bit of edge to them. You never know what you might get. If I expect something, I’m not as excited to watch them or get their records. I wanna be surprised, and the people that I love surprise me in really great ways, not in negative ways.
Can you talk briefly about working on Broadway? What productions were you in, and what are some of your favorite shows?
My first musical was the original cast of Hairspray. I worked on Hairspray for quite a few years before it opened. A little bit after that, I played Glenda in Wicked. In Hairspray, I played Amber Von Tussle, the villain. She’s kinda nasty. Glenda had a little nastiness, but a little bit more saccharine, so it kind of evened out. And then I played the nicest character ever, which was Elle Woods [in Legally Blonde], the most positive idealistic character. Then as a kid, I did this national tour of The Sound of Music. I did Gypsy and a show called Ruthless.
How old were you then?
For Ruthless, I was 10 and 11 years old. Britney Spears was one of my understudies, and Natalie Portman was my understudy after that. And they were both my friends. At the time, I lived in New York for a few years, and I would go to see shows when I had days off. Damn Yankees is one of my all-time favorites. The Sound of Music is my favorite movie. Even though I don’t love the musical as much, I love the movie. The musical I love right now is The Book of Mormon. I think that it’s just hysterical. Obviously, I love The Lion King and certain musicals like Jersey Boys that are just terrific. … Les Mis. Oh, my God, I loved Les Mis. I loved Cats.
What other projects do you have coming up?
I’m working on a new record. That’ll be finished in about a month. Hopefully, I’ll have a single out on the radio in the fall and a new record next year. And I’m always working on Cooter County [a collection of comedy characters she has developed]. We launched cootercounty.com, the new version of it, which is exciting. And I’m making a movie of it. I’m always developing projects and stuff. I have a little bit of a producer brain. So there’s like 10 things going on at once. It’s like constantly planting seeds and watering things. I’ll let you guys know if anything sprouts.