Tag: Interview

Phoebe Dynevor: The World’s Favorite Duchess

Are they in love in real life? That’s all anyone wants to know if they’ve seen the Regency romp Bridgerton and the sizzling scenes between Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne and Regé-Jean Page as the rakish Duke of Hastings. ‘I’d love to say there was really something between us,’ Phoebe smiles in a way that suggests she means it. ‘But no, it has always been strictly professional. There was so much pressure on us to get it right that it was all about the work. We have a really professional working relationship. I’m glad for that, actually. It would be very complicated if it went further.’

On-set romances are fine while everything is good, but hellish if you fall out. ‘I always hear about people falling in love with their co-stars. It’s yet to happen to me, but I’m intrigued.’ I’m grateful for the honesty of her answer, because there’s been a huge amount of interest in this beautiful young pair. Rumours suggest there is more to their chemistry than acting, but each has been enigmatic about this until now. ‘People really root for us. We have to say we’re actors, we’re doing a job, there is something to be said for not spoiling the magic… but at a certain point you have to say “no”.’

So that’s put things straight. Phoebe is bright, charming and disarmingly direct, but as we talk I can’t help feeling she’s only vaguely aware of what a massive star she has suddenly become.

Bridgerton has hit the number-one spot in 83 countries – including the US, India and Brazil – since it went up on Netflix in December. In fact, it is the biggest series the streaming service has ever had, with 82 million households around the world tuning into the show in its first 28 days online.

‘Nothing has changed in my life,’ says the 25-year-old actor who moved back to stay with her mum and dad in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, at the start of the recent lockdown. ‘I’m still at home arguing with my brother about the washing-up and doing jigsaw puzzles with my dad. It’s very surreal, because I know something’s going on but I can’t really see it.’

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Phoebe Dynevor Is Figuring Out Life After ‘Bridgerton’

When over 63 million households have seen your show, life is going to change. That’s just a fact. But for Phoebe Dynevor, lead of Netflix’s hit series Bridgerton, it came a critical time. The 25-year-old was considering a break from acting when she booked the Shonda Rhimes-produced drama about the highs and lows of the Regency-era marriage market.

Now when she scrolls on Instagram, she might come across a Saturday Night Live star’s viral impression of her character, Daphne. She’s asked constantly, including by this interviewer, increasingly bizarre questions like, “What does your costar Regé-Jean Page smell like?” A casual weekday stroll to the farmer’s market results in multiple articles on massive celebrity sites like The Daily Mail and The Sun.

“It’s weird, isn’t it?” Dynevor says as we chat over Zoom about the overwhelming success of the series, hours after news broke that a second season is a go. “In my head, no one knows who I am so nothing has changed.”

That’s true to some extent. Dynevor, who has been living with her family in Manchester, England through quarantine, tells me she still doesn’t get recognized on the street by fans. But again: 63 million households. The impact of that number isn’t lost on Dynevor, even if it’s all a bit hard to comprehend while in lockdown.

So, how is she navigating what can only be described as a breakout role? And what’s next? Read on.

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Phoebe Dynevor: Queue & A

The actor who plays Daphne in Shondaland’s Bridgerton takes her turn answering Queue’s Q’s.

Queue: What inspired you to pursue a career in acting?
Phoebe Dynevor: I would visit my mom on set a lot when I was younger, and I think the first thing I noticed was that family dynamic — all these people that are so brilliant at what they do, all coming together and creating something. That was so exciting to me. And then I played Antigone in a school play when I was 16. That feeling of being onstage and that rush and the thrill of finding out about who a person is . . . There are so many aspects of acting that you fall in love with, and then before you know it you’re in and you can’t get out.

How did you prepare to tackle this role?
PD: I wanted to get a sense of who Daphne was underneath this façade. I think if Daphne was born today she’d be a very different person, but the fact that she was born in the context of Regency England and being a woman, she has to conform to those social expectations. There is that mask that she’s putting on. There’s a lot of anxiety that comes with having that much pressure put on you as a woman, or as a person. I wanted to be able to display that angst that’s bubbling beneath the surface.

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Phoebe Dynevor Had Been Dreaming of a Project Like Bridgerton

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.’”

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Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor Wants To Play Matchmaker In Season Two

Phoebe Dynevor was—almost-but-not-quite literally—born to wear a tiara. The daughter of British soap star Sally Dynevor, whose stint on the long-running Coronation Street made her a period-piece fan-favorite, Dynevor was born with the high cheekbones and posh inflections that made her an obvious choice for Shonda Rhimes’s Regency drama Bridgerton. The choice was so obvious, in fact, that once her audition tape made the rounds, she was suddenly, after months of no contact, called into the Shondaland office in Los Angeles to meet with showrunner Chris Van Dusen and producer Betsy Beers. The chat clearly went well: Days later, Dynevor was on a plane from L.A. to London to begin six weeks of prep in the arms of Regé-Jean Page, who plays her character’s love interest Simon Basset.

But what excited Dynevor more than a spontaneous trip back to her home country was the prospect of working with Rhimes herself. “I was such a fan of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, and all of her characters are always super dimensional and interesting, particularly the female roles,” she says. “I knew that this was going to be a different sort of period drama in the way that the women were going to have real agency. They were going to actually be interesting and dynamic characters.”

As Bridgerton continues to dominate the Netflix charts, ELLE.com grabbed a few minutes with Dynevor to discuss the challenges of filming a period piece, her intimate scenes with Page, and what she hopes to see in Season 2.

What’s so dynamic about this show is how it reinvents the Regency era, modernizing it without de-historicizing it: the feminist attitudes, even the modern pop songs played by string instruments. With that in mind, how did you research and prepare for your role as Daphne?

I think the context of the era was still really important for Daphne’s character arc, so I wanted to get all of that right. The etiquette stuff—we had an amazing choreographer who did all the dances with us and taught us how to properly curtsy and bow and build good posture.

And we all read a lot of articles. At one point we had a group chat just for the girls where we’d share articles and books that told us what it was like to be a woman in that time. That was really important for all the women’s stories, actually, to understand how empowered they were even within the context at that time. Women were very oppressed. All these little things: how difficult it was to give birth for women, the fear behind that, how important it was for them to find a man.

So, for instance, I learned how to ride sidesaddle, which was interesting, but there’s a scene where Daphne has to jump on a horse and quite quickly get somewhere, and I really pushed for her to be riding astride as opposed to sidesaddle. I thought that wouldn’t be like her—when something quite desperate was happening, she wouldn’t be sidesaddle.

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