In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, NBCUniversal launched their new streaming service Peacock this week — which offers a huge selection of some of your favorite hit shows and films as well as original programming, including the new show “Brave New World,” based on Aldous Huxley’s groundbreaking novel. We caught up with Kylie Bunbury (who played a boundary breaking female MLB pitcher in the Fox series “Pitch,” and Kevin Richardson’s sister Angie in “When They See Us”) to talk about her role in the dystopian drama and how she’s coping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In “Brave New World” Bunbury plays Frannie, who is a Beta Plus who embraces her conditioning and New London’s social order, which largely centers around three rules: No Family, No Privacy and No Monogamy. We asked the actress which of the rules would be most difficult for her to abide by in her real life.
“I think no privacy,” Bunbury told BOSSIP. “I’m quite a private person. All of them are a little — there are cons to all of them, but no privacy and no family would be hard. Actually my brother is here now. Before I start my new project I had to see my family. I even saw my mom. I know it’s dangerous to say with everything with COVID but I had to see my family.”
Speaking of COVID, like many of us Kylie says she’s been vacillating between embracing the quiet and feeling a little bit confused about what to expect next.
“For me, I feel like I’ve been experiencing the duality of the situation,” the actress shared. “Feeling the grief and confusion and all of that but I’m also experiencing a lot of peace, I’m getting to know myself more. My spiritual practice is expanding. So it’s almost this weird in-between. It’s like I dance between a lot of peace and also a lot of confusion so I’m just trying to flow with everything and accept every feeling as it comes and not try to neglect it, so I can have a little more control, I guess.”
With Peacock launching this week, Kylie is excited for the world to get to see “Brave New World,” a show that required her to play a different kind of character than she has in the past.
“I think the best part for me was to be able to play a character I’ve never played before,” Kylie admitted to BOSSIP. “Frannie is really very feminine, she’s a person that embraces the conditioning, she embraces the social order and typically I go for characters that are more strong that want to grow, that want to find themselves, so I found it interesting to be able to play a character that actually enjoys the social conditioning and just wants to be happy and just wants to have fun. It was such a departure from what I’ve done before.”
Immediately from the pilot we were drawn to the unique sets and costumes, including a wardrobe that Frannie has fun switching in and out of in a blink, as you’ll see in the first episode.
“The outfits are very futuristic, the outfits that I’m changing into, it’s so funny because it’s like two seconds that you’re seeing but those took hours for me to change in and out of,” Kylie explained. “I had a lot of fun with Frannie’s wardrobe, I think my favorite was the one that you see her going to the Pleasure Gardens in, that looks like a jellyfish kind of dress. Susie [Coulthard] our stylist for the show is such a visionary because she was really able to create this future world without it feeling familiar, I felt like none of the outfits felt familiar, which is a difficult thing to do. It was a lot of fun changing in and out of these outfits because normally I’m in like, workout gear – for “Pitch,” it’s fun to be more feminine.”
Kylie said her satisfaction with the behind the scenes crew extended beyond wardrobe into hair and makeup as well, an area that she admitted hasn’t always been the easiest to maneuver for her as a woman of color working on less diverse productions. Viewers will be delighted by her character Frannie’s beautiful curly hair. Kylie told BOSSIP she wanted Frannie’s hair to have a lot of volume and even requested additional pieces be added to achieve the look you’ll see onscreen.
“That was really important to me,” Kylie told BOSSIP. “I was like ‘I need Frannie to have some big curly hair.’ To be honest I’ve always had difficulty on shows or films, where maybe I’m not considered as much in terms of who they pick for hair and makeup, so sometimes it has been challenging, feeling like I’m being neglected because maybe there’s only one of me, there’s only one person of color. But now it’s so interesting, I feel like I’m stepping into my power more and demanding the respect that I deserve when it comes to feeling comfortable in a chair and getting my hair and makeup done. It’s important for me to request someone who knows how to work with ethnic hair and someone who knows how to work with darker skin tones.”
Another change for the actress was her accent. As a citizen of New London, Frannie has a British accent, so Kylie spent her time in pre-production preparing to sound convincing.
“A large part of my prep was working on my British accent,” Kylie told BOSSIP. “Also for me I understood who Frannie was, it’s me in the imaginary circumstance, I’m just turning up certain parts of myself and then turning down certain parts of myself. So it was a lot of me tapping into my feminine side, also we all have numbed ourselves in some way, so it was me tapping into that part of myself that used to want to suppress the feelings that I really needed to have a look at. So that was kind of interesting, it was tapping into a darker side of myself even though it seems that it’s happy and it’s fun.”
Speaking of fun… a lot of the fun for citizens of New London involves sex and while many audiences may associate NBC Universal with network TV, viewers should be prepared to see skin because Peacock allows nudity and “Brave New World” offers plenty of it.
“There’s a lot of nudity in the show, but I didn’t do that,” Kylie says of her decision not to strip down for the cameras. “We faked my nudity, going back to that privacy thing — I’m more private.”
And while she couldn’t say much about the twists the show will take, Ms. Bunbury did offer a little glimpse into how the plot of “Brave New World” will unfold.
“Even though this New London is seemingly perfect and everything is in order, there is no individuality so what you can expect is some sort of awakening within the world,” Kylie told BOSSIP. “This is more of a heightened reality and more of a sci-fi version of the world, but it definitely is a debate about the future. We are in a sci fi world discussing our societal addictions to technology, to drugs, to instant gratification, to sex, to lack of consciousness, lack of finding oneself so I think this show will entice conversations about what matters, what we take seriously and whether we will wake up.”
We love how that parallels right into how the real world is changing day by day! You can find new episodes of “Brave New World” on Peacock right now.