Kylie Bunbury, Canadian ‘Pitch’ star, talks breakout leading role
Kylie Bunbury is a breath of fresh air.
The Canadian-born star of baseball series Pitch is incredibly upbeat about her new show, and her enthusiasm is contagious. Even though she didn’t know a thing about baseball going into production, Bunbury is now obsessed with getting the perfect pitching form, and even loves going to the ballpark whenever she can.
Bunbury plays lead Ginny Baker, who becomes the first woman to play in a Major League Baseball game, and throughout Season 1 we watch Baker adjust to her surroundings in what’s traditionally a man’s realm.
Global News sat down with Bunbury in the early summer to find out what it was like to go up on that mound for the first time, and how much she’s in love with baseball now.
Global News: I understand you’re not a baseball person. After doing this show, are you converted?
Kylie Bunbury: I’ve completely converted. I watch it more because of the role, but I prefer to be at the field rather than watching it on TV. I didn’t realize how mental it was, it’s like mathematics.
Your co-star is Mark-Paul Gosselaar of Saved By the Bell fame. How is it working with him, and more importantly, have you seen episodes of Saved By the Bell?
[Laughs] Yes, but they were definitely in reruns. He’s so wonderful, I was not expecting that at all. Child actors are notorious for being brats … he blew me away. He’s genuinely so kind, and cares so much. He works hard for this role.
He’s the catcher, so there’s this whole dance between he and I, the pitcher and the catcher. And then, you know, I’m sure some sort of relationship thing will blossom.
Does he have knee problems from squatting all the time?
No. And he would hate it if we said that he did. He’s always like, “My knees are fine! I’m not that old!” [Laughs]
What about you? Did you undergo major training?
Still training. I had to take a break for a while because I actually hurt my elbow a little bit. Pitchers don’t normally pitch on consecutive days, so I pushed it a bit too much.
You have the form down, at least from the footage I’ve seen of you on the mound.
Thank you so much, I really want to fine tune it. I want it to be [claps hands]. The first time up there, that mound is massive. It’s so ominous! I think that was a moment I journalled about, walking up on the mound for the first time and having that experience. You see my reaction in the show — that’s my real reaction. That is not a false moment.
Have you been watching baseball movies, like A League of Their Own?
Yes, I love that movie. I’ve been watching a lot of them, I didn’t realize how good they are! Field of Dreams … but Bull Durham is my favourite. I watched 42 as well, which I thought was important to watch because of Jackie Robinson, you know, because he was the first “something” to play the game too.
Obviously this show is not solely about baseball. How much of your personal life do we see?
Yes, there’s a lot about my personal life in relation to the game. We’re going to see her dealing with the fame, the pressure, her relationships with everybody. How she handles everything is the most important part of the show, and it’ll be what people will want to see. When she goes home after all this, what’s it like?
What about the locker room? Where does Ginny go?
You find out in the first episode. It’s not where you think. [Laughs]
How do you think girls and women are going to respond to Pitch?
I think it’s going to be a really great thing for young girls and women to see. To feel inspired and empowered, to know that you can do anything you set your mind to. All you need is heart, work ethic and to dream big. Continue to dream big and know that it’s attainable. I think it’s important for us to see things like this on TV, too, to see women breaking barriers and beating the odds. It’ll be a powerful and positive message. This show is a lot bigger than all of us.
And now you can actually pitch.
I know! If I can learn how to pitch in two months, and I’m doing OK, how can we not assume that a woman who’s been working on it for her entire life won’t be playing in the MLB? It’s ridiculous. I think it’s just a matter of time.
‘Pitch’ premieres on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. ET on Global.Follow @CJancelewicz
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