Casting “The Bunny Lady”
When casting began for the role of “The Bunny Lady”, the production company managed to get the script into the hands of Florence Henderson, one of America’s best-loved TV “moms” from the seminal series The Brady Bunch. Ms. Henderson responded positively to the film’s message and to the character of Betsy Ross, and agreed to come to Michigan in the dead of winter for a week of filming. She has since stated "I don't think I've ever been colder than I was in Western Michigan while filming The Christmas Bunny but the crew, the cast and all the wonderful people there kept me very warm!"
Tom Seidman was determined to find the part of Julia in Michigan, both because of cost considerations and because he wanted a child actress who hadn’t been influenced by “Hollywood” acting. Casting director Maureen Fahey Dreher brought in nine-year old Sophie Bolen to audition, and Seidman was immediately impressed by how focused Sophie was, and by how intently she listened. “There was a stillness about her that was just perfect for Julia,” he says.
For her second audition, Seidman asked Sophie to come “in character”, as though she actually was Julia. Unfortunately, the auditions that day ran behind schedule, and Sophie ended up sitting for 45 minutes in the waiting room, refusing to talk to or interact with anyone. In fact, when Maureen Dreher came in to tell Seidman that Sophie was ready, she remarked, “I don’t know what’s wrong with her today. I said ‘Hello and she wouldn’t even look at me!”
Despite the fact that Sophie had never appeared in a film before (not even as an extra) Seidman knew he had found his “Julia”....