Finally, the Viscount found his Vicante.
More than a year after its debut on Netflix in approximately 82 million families worldwide, Bridgeton-Megahite Regency Romance Executive, produced by Shonda Rhymes and based on the eponymous series of bestseller books by Julia Quinn – is back for the second season, telling a whole new love story, continuing to open a wave of diversity in periodical dramas.
At the center of the show’s second season is Lord Anthony Bridgeton (Jonathan Bailey), Viscount and eldest son of the Bridgerton family. He falls into a love triangle with Kate (Simon Ashley) and Edwin Sharma (Charitra Chandran), two sisters who are new to London’s high society after arriving from India with their widowed mother Mary (Shelley Cohn). Deciding to make the best choice for his family, Anthony, the most suitable bachelor, begins to care for Edwin, the chosen “diamond” queen of the debut season. But over the course of eight episodes, he develops an indisputable bond with Kate, and they begin to get closer because of a shared sense of duty and family. Soon they are drawn into a slow romance for centuries, full of anxious looks and confessions of forbidden love.
In a nightly interview Zoom from his home in London, where he is now filming a three-month performance Rooster with Taran EgertonBailey spoke sincerely with BAZAAR.com about his working relationship with Ashley, about how he filmed the lake scene this season, and what he hopes for “Kanthony” in the future. (Ashley confirmed it she and Bailey return to the third season of the show.)
What parts of Anthony’s journey have you been looking forward to the most this season? And how did you approach his relationship with Kate, knowing they should feel completely different than their relationship with Sienna (Sabrina Bartlett) last season?
Oh, I was never asked that question. I think it’s a really rare opportunity to have source material – Julia Quinn’s novels – that allows you to understand exactly who the character is at his end point and then work in reverse. In the hands of [creator and showrunner] Chris Van Dussen, Anthony in Series 1 was rather a prologue to Anthony during the years of his life Kate Sharma. I read the second book before accepting the role, and what really drew me to it was the feeling of grief and loss – as well as the commentary on patriarchy. It is about how tied the status is in a world where men lead over women and where there is a clear impact on the women around them. I think this show is really ingenious because it doesn’t have emotionally capable men Bridgeton– All women are far ahead and much more developed.
I am fascinated by the idea of loss and the distance between the presentation and what is actually going on inside. I think it’s always attractive – use a Bridgeton expression – to dance the dance between these two realities, especially during the Regency. These people present a version of themselves, and the stakes are really high because they have to get married to secure their future economically. I just fell in love with the idea of playing someone who had a breakup. This is a study of how you can move on from what is holding back your growth.
I think Sienna represented a different way Anthony sabotaged himself because that relationship would never move forward. I think his self-esteem was pretty low and he knew it wouldn’t work. Love is balanced, and it’s omniscient, omniscient, like a shared understanding with someone else, and I think that’s what he’s always found with Kate.
What did you remember from the chemistry you read with Simona?
Simona is phenomenal and these working relationships are so unique. This was evident immediately. As soon as they said, “When you’re ready …” [in the chemistry read]we just shut up. We did it with help [casting director] Kelly Hendry in the room, and the whole of Shondaland at Zoom. We sat face to face on a wiped clean couch and everything was a little sterile in a really big room in the midst of a pandemic, and yet it immediately felt like we were at home. And I think that’s so true for Kate and Anthony – they feel at home together and that’s why he’s so obsessed and wondering what he feels when he’s next to her.
I remember in the car, on the way home, I was talking to Chris Van Dussen, and he said, “What do you think?” And I just said, “Yeah, that’s all. This is Kate. ” But I think they all knew it well and really did it anyway, because the other actresses I read with weren’t there. Their search was long and extensive, but I just think they always knew what Simona would be he and they just needed to snatch her from the contract, which I’m sure is the first of many cases that happen in her career.
Bridgeton is famous, among many, for ballroom scenes, and Kate and Anthony have two extremely intimate dances that make them the center of attention. How did you and Simon work with choreographer Jack Murphy, and what do you think these two dances help convey about their deepening connection?
I think with Kate and Anthony the secret of their chemistry is that they always ask, but they ask with their body, breath, eyes, and there is a hunger for truth. That’s what made him and Kate so convincing, and that’s why they’re incredibly vulnerable – they’re hungry beyond the limits they impose on themselves. Dancing really was a moment when they could put into their bodies what was going on in their head. The Regency ballroom has something amazing because you can’t hide when you’re dancing there as well [there’s] it’s a painful strain when they dance in front of Edwin and start talking.
Anthony never danced in Series 1, and when I read the first dance with Edwin, I thought: That’s when he’s actually the most vulnerable. Here he first mentions the loss of Edwin’s father.
I think hunger and the need to know that [Kate] he will be there for him and in this final dance. There is nothing more romantic and really upsetting than the last dance. We talked to Jack as well as Cheryl [Dunye], who filmed these last two episodes, that the stakes were supposed to be so high – that would be really the last time they would look at each other. And it only really deserves a confession of love, because it’s so important that he needed to go beyond dance, and obviously the dance only happened because of Edwin. It’s as brilliant as it’s built. God, I’m a little Bridgeton geek, right? But there are so many thoughts.
In the finale there is a moment when Anthony jokingly asks Kate how many fingers he holds before they dance again. Was it intentional for the number of fingers to match the number of Kate and Anthony’s children in the books?
Yes, of course. But maybe that’s the number of seasons they’ll be in. You never know! Will have to wait and see.
Bridgeton is subversive in that intimate scenes are often filmed out of a woman’s gaze. What did you learn from the proximity coordinators about the importance of consent and communication?
I think there’s something incredibly sexy about consent in general. It wasn’t written according to the script, [the line where] Anthony tells her, “I’ll stop, I’ll stop.” And that’s what we invest in the sex scene because I think it’s very important for him to respect and understand a woman, and there will never be a moment when it won’t be the most important narrative moment. He’s obsessed with her throughout the series, so it makes sense that it all gives Kate fun, and it always has. He seems to want to devour her.
To be really, really honest, we researched a lot more, and I think initially the first editing was a lot longer, and obviously in Episode 8 there were more intimate things. But I think it’s the perfect way to earn it. [Bridgerton] is sex-positive – it has incredible characters who are innovative and empowering – and being part of a sex scene that is very erotic but also completely agreeable and balanced, that’s what it’s all about.
It was nice, on the contrary, Series 1, to show the story of two people who may have been a little more secular and more in control and in control of their sexual desires and needs. Making Kate a man who knew what she wanted was ingenious. It shows who these two characters are, and distinguishes them from the first pair. And long can Bridgeton keep showing the different ways people can connect emotionally and physically, because I think that’s what the romance genre is all about.
I would be inadmissible if I didn’t ask you about yours Pride and prejudice moment in episode 5 when you fell into the lake as Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the BBC mini-series. How was it to shoot this scene, and more importantly, how to make it look sexy and not look like a wet dog?
Man, that was a little bit [a] wet puppy. It was so perfect to be able to pay homage to a strong lover [Jane] Austin movie. This is what me, Sabrina and Phoebe talked about, in fact, in the first series: the relationship between Colin Firth and Jennifer Elle, among others. It’s just such a favorite film adaptation of the Bailey family.
And the truth is that it passed very quickly. We succeeded from the first time. This stuntman said, “You just have to go for it and really put a little energy into the fall.” And we did it. And obviously I had nothing under my shirt. But I had such long plastic cases that were confusing, so I felt under the doll half Ken. And then the jacket was incredibly heavy, which wasn’t taken into account, but what was taken into account is the transparency of the shirt. I remember during fitting I tried on a pair of shirts and they had one of those syringes from houseplants to spray me to see how much hair on my chest you could see.
What are your biggest hopes for Kate and Anthony when they get married? Do you want to see them with your baby when the show returns, or do you still want to see them in the honeymoon phase?
My God, the honeymoon phase is very important. I think Kate will be shocked. Her family had a big responsibility, but she knew nothing [about how] to head the Bridgerton family. Now she will be the Viscountess, so it will be an interesting balance between having passed from Lady Violet (Ruth Gamel). And in the books, as I know, much will be included in their future relationships – about her past, about their shared grief and sense of mortality. But, my God, for their eldest son, Edmund, it will be incredibly exciting, especially because both of their relationships with their parents have been so complicated. I think they will really come together to become incredible, loving parents and it will be a joy to see.
This interview has been edited and compressed for length and clarity.
Bridgeton Season 2 is now airing on Netflix.
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