Phoebe Dynevor has the world at her feet. After breakout roles in the gangster series Snatch and US comedy series Younger, Dynevor is embarking on a new chapter as Daphne Bridgerton in Bridgerton, coming to Netflix at the end of this year. Based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling novels, the eight episode spectacular exuding glamour and romance is set to be a must watch. In anticipation of its release, EXIT catches up with the rising star to talk debutantes, couture and what it means to be happy.
Congratulations on your new show Bridgerton! What drew you to the script?
Thank you. I think what ultimately drew me to the script and to the character was the idea that Shondaland would be delving into the world of Regency England. I’m a big fan of period dramas (Regency in particular) but I knew with Shonda involved the female characters would not be without agency and that was an exciting prospect for me.
How was it getting into the character of Daphne? How is she different you’re your previous roles?
I immediately empathised with Daphne and what she longs for as a woman within the context of that time. I could relate to her inner turmoil and anxiety and the ways in which she manages to conceal it. Our dance choreographer Jack Murphy was essential in helping me with the etiquette and how she presents herself to the outside world. She’s different to other roles I’ve played mostly because of the very patriarchal world she constantly has to navigate. Daphne never has the freedom to ‘find herself’ so a lot of who she is, is based on what that society says she should be.
And how was it working with such an incredible cast? What were some stand out moments on set?
The cast really is incredible and I made some friends for life working on this show. I think a lot of my favourite moments were the dance sequences (which I never thought I’d say). I was so out of my comfort zone which was equally exciting and thrilling and an experience I’ll never forget.
Who do you sight as your biggest acting icons? Do you remember a first performance that left an impression on you?
I have to say Meryl Streep was the first. I remember seeing her in A Series of Unfortunate Events and thinking, what the heck is she doing? It’s bizarre and wonderful and I want to do that too. I then became a little obsessed with Gena Rowlands after watching her performance in A Woman Under the Influence. Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine is another standout performance. It’s that idea of being completely uninhibited that is so thrilling to me as an actress. Interestingly, everything Daphne is not but playing with that idea of ‘at what point will she break?’ Was equally exciting.
Looking through your Instagram you reference some great writers and poets. One of the books you posted, Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, is a complete game changer and one of my all-time favourites. Is spirituality something that’s important to you?
I grew up without any form of religion in my life but I began meditating a few years ago and it really helped me with my anxiety and staying present when I’m working. Letting Go by David M. Hawkins and Women Who Run With Wolves are two books I always go back to. I recommend Women Who Run With Wolves to all of my girlfriends, a different chapter resonates at a different point in my life. I think it’s a very special book.
What was the last good book you read?
I recently read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara which is such an extraordinary novel. It’s not often that a book completely consumes you and this one absolutely did. I like any form of art that explores the nuances, particularly in human behaviour. I guess that explains the career I chose.
Another post that stood out to me was a beautiful handwritten piece of text from your notebook, ‘What it means to be happy’. Tell me more about your writing.
When I was younger and I’d tell my grandma everything I’d been up to she’d say, ‘have you written all this down?’. I’d think, ‘we don’t need to write things down in the 21st century, that’s what iPhones and Instagram are for’. We can look back at 2015 and all the memories are right there on our phone. I’ve only this year realised the importance of journaling and expressing your internal thoughts and feelings. Keeping a diary has helped me stay sane in 2020. Most of the time I keep those thoughts very private but occasionally I realise someone else might be able to relate to it and so I share it.
Let’s talk couture. You wear some dreamy pieces from the Chanel Fall 2020 collection in the editorial. What does Chanel represent to you?
Chanel was probably the first designer I ever heard of and the story of Coco Chanel is so inspiring and empowering. To me Chanel represents the knowledge that you can do whatever you set your mind to.
How would you define Chanel couture in one sentence?
Boss female energy.
What are you working on next?
I’m currently in New York filming and then we’ll see what 2021 will bring. But I’m trying to stay in the moment, as much as possible.
© Lo Harley