Phoebe Dynevor grew up with period dramas. A longtime Jane Austen fan, the 25-year-old British actress has a share of BBC period pieces on her résumé, including an adaptation of The Three Musketeers and a series based on Charles Dickens’s works. But she had always dreamed of a project set in the Regency. “I think I really specifically wanted to do the Regency era, and to be able to do high-society Regency era is even more amazing, because it’s just so lavish compared to your Pride and Prejudice or your Sense and Sensibility,” she tells BAZAAR.com. With Bridgerton, she finally got her chance.
Set in 1813 London, the new, Shonda Rhimes–produced Netflix series is a lavish and seductive romp into the scandalous lives of English nobility, adapted from Julia Quinn’s book series. Dynevor leads as Daphne Bridgerton, a promising debutante hailing from a powerful family, set on finding a husband ASAP. When a gossip-spreading scandal sheet muddies her reputation and scares her potential suitors away, she teams up with the very eligible Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), faking a relationship to appear as a desirable bachelorette once again. Of course, she and the duke fall in love, embarking on a hot and heavy romance that uncovers dark secrets from his past.
Dynevor first auditioned for Daphne in February 2019. After months of not hearing back, things started picking up quickly: She was asked to meet showrunner Chris Van Dusen and producer Betsy Beers. A week later, she was called in to read with Page, who was already cast as Simon. Next came the meeting with Rhimes in L.A. The following day, she was offered the job. She and Page promptly began six weeks of diligent prep, ranging from costume fittings to etiquette classes. It was only then that Dynevor truly realized the scale of this production. “And then, as my schedule came in,” she recalls, “horse riding on Monday and piano lessons on Tuesday and etiquette training. I was like, ‘Oh, okay. This is kind of crazy.’”