Inside Bridgerton: The Love Story that Enchanted 82 Million Viewers
Updated: Mar 18
Welcome to the first episode of our Acting Explorers Club! Today we will talk about the much-discussed Netflix series Bridgerton: drama, love, great acting… This show really got it all!
You may have heard about one of the latest additions to Netflix's catalog: Bridgerton, the tv show everybody seems to love. In fact, it is almost impossible to stop watching it once you started the first episode. Maybe it is for the colors, the beautiful costumes, the fantastic scenographies… And some great, talented actors!
As young aspirant actors, it is very useful to watch other colleagues' performances and learn as much as possible from them. Each artist has unique features and a different way of reading a character. Sometimes we can find some particular facial expressions watching a movie or some elegant movements made by a tv show character that we really like. So why not make them our owns?
It is an excellent opportunity for artists to take inspiration from their fellows. This is why Free To Fly Drama School decided to give you an exciting insight into the latest and most discussed movies and tv shows! You will have the opportunity to read about what the actors went through during their set life, their thoughts on the characters and funny episodes that happened during the filming.
This will help you have an idea of what life on set is, how the actor's job happens and the challenges an artist faces every day. If you would like to become a professional sooner or later, you will love this journey!
So let us get started and have a little overview of what Bridgerton is about before diving into the behind-the-scenes and set life.
Bridgerton: spoiler-free plot
This Netflix series takes place in the 19th century, in a racially integrated Regency era. It is the story of an aristocratic family whose name is, indeed, Bridgerton. Together with them, we get to know all of London's polite society during the social season. This was a 6-month period where all the wealthiest families came together to participate in balls, dinners and parties.
This annual event was really important for young women because it was the time they were presented to society to find a husband. These girls were put under a lot of pressure! To maintain their reputation, they needed to be very careful with men's interaction and get married within the end of their first season.
Daphne, the main character, is a debutante, and she is also the most beautiful one. She hates not being in charge of her life, and she tries to do her best to get herself a happy future with a successful marriage, just like the one her parents had. To help her in this mission there is Simon Basset, that just became the Duke of Hasting and is the most desired bachelor in London. The first season will focus on their adventures (and misadventures), which really have unexpected turns.
During every episode we hear the voice of Lady Whistledown, an anonymous writer who publishes scandalous articles on all the gossip that circulates in London, like a Gossip Girl from another century.
The whole series is really catchy and dramatic, but it contains some violent and sensual scenes. In the US Bridgerton is categorized for a mature audience, so make sure to talk with your parents before watching it and decide together what scenes you should avoid.
Chatting with Bridgerton's cast
As promised, let us now hear a bit from those who brought us such an exciting show.
Phoebe Dynevor is the actress interpreting Daphne Bridgerton, she is 25 and she started acting in 2009.
About interpreting her character, she said that one of the main points she focused on was the social pressure Daphne felt:
"I really wanted to give her a little bit of anxiety. I wanted her to have something very modern about her in the way that she's quite anxious. It wasn't really in the script, but it helped me to understand her more. Because it is a different world, but there are so many parallels with media and the way women have been portrayed in the media and Instagram and the pressures of being perfect and all those things that are involved in that."
One of the most challenging aspects of playing in a period drama is to do extensive research on a character's speaking, moving, and living. Phoebe already played in other period dramas before Bridgerton, so her worked was indeed lighter. Still, something that helped her understand the historical period was reading the books on which the series is based. She said that this process also allows her to get the real sense of romanticism Daphne needed.
Another challenge the actress had to deal with was intimate scenes during the filming. Phoebe talked about how helpful it was for her to have a coordinator to help her and Regé-Jean Page (the Duke of Hasting) rehearsal the blocks of those scenes:
"We have an intimacy coordinator. So, we blocked and rehearsed all the intimacy scenes weeks and weeks before we started to do things. I think that was really beneficial to us as well, because by the time we got to set, we knew what we were doing. We felt super safe and it just meant that when we got on set, we already knew exactly what we're doing."
The other main character, Simon Basset, has a darker shade compared to Daphne. He has a problematic past and feels broken. Here is how his interpreter, René-Jean Page, describes him:
"Simon is tall, dark, handsome, mysterious, brooding, and broken in many ways—a thoroughly problematic anti-hero, how do we deconstruct and subvert that? What's worth saving in this man? He's hugely intelligent and generous, but can't release those qualities. He doesn't know how to love other people, or to let go of the restrictive pride and projection of strength that actually make him weaker."
The actor also talked about how much he appreciated that the character's only way to release his self-destructiveness was through vulnerability. He thinks that we do not always allow men to be vulnerable in our society, which was even worse during the 19th century. He says that his character's journey enables him to see that there is strength in vulnerability, and this is how he beats the pressure of being toxically masculine.
Funny moments on set
So many things can go wrong filming a period drama! One example is given to us by Jonathan Bailey (Anthony Bridgerton, Daphne's oldest brother). During one of the scenes with horses, Anthony and Daphne were supposed to talk side by side while sitting on their horses' back. When the director said "Action!" the horses started walking backward, and they would not stop. The two actors laughed to tears about this inconvenience. It is what you call occupational hazards!
Another funny moment is given to us by René-Jean Page. He remembers a scene filmed in the studio, where he and Phoebe were supposed to be carried by a horse carriage. In this scene his character screams, "make the horses go faster!" The only problem was that there were no horses, only assistants pushing the carriage to give the impression it was moving in front of the green screen! René said he felt so sorry for them; they had to repeat the block at least 20 times!
What we loved about Bridgerton
Shondaland did a great job creating a tv series that is high-quality and entertaining at the same time. But what we appreciated the most was the attention to feminine perspective and racial integration.
The all story is brought to the spectator from Daphne's eyes, so we feel all the injustices she goes through and we live with her the important period that carries her from being a girl to becoming a woman. Even if Daphne lives in a challenging historical period for women, she is never the victim, and this is a great example for all the girls and young women watching the show.
At the same time, this show also offers a well-deserved historical representation of the black community, which tends to be absent in period drama. We loved to see how many essential characters- like Queen Charlotte or the Duke of Hasting himself- were black and had a role of relevance in the whole plot.
Bridgerton really deserves all the attention it is getting and it is worth watching; maybe even more than once, like this author already did!