Tag: Elle

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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The Bridgerton Cast on Making a Hot and Heavy Period Drama for the 21st Century

The British period drama has long been the domain of white actors, but the genre is getting an inclusive update in recent years: Mary, Queen of Scots featured Gemma Chan as Bess of Hardwick in 2018, Dev Patel played the eponymous hero in The Personal History of David Copperfield this year, and Jodie Turner-Smith is set to play Anne Boleyn in a new Tudor series. Slowly but surely, actors of color are becoming period fixtures, and Netflix and Shondaland are adding historical romp Bridgerton to the list. (Though there was certainly no danger of a white-washed cast with Shonda Rhimes serving as executive producer.)

The series is based on Julia Quinn’s romance novels and feels like a Gossip Girl meets Pride & Prejudice fantasy mash-up, with Julie Andrews as the narrator. Set during Great Britain’s Regency era, the revisionist history series follows the eight siblings of the powerful Bridgerton family as they navigate love, sex, and duty in high society. Black actors not only play leading roles, as with Rhimes’s series Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, but are also positioned amongst the highest rank of the aristocracy.

“It’s a relief to make the very easy decision to stop excluding people from our stories,” star Regé-Jean Page tells ELLE.com. “It’s not commonly done, but also, there’s no good reason for it not to be done.”

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Phoebe Dynevor: My Life In Culture

Meet Phoebe Dynevor, whose latest role marks her breakout rise to stardom.

The 25-year-old’s career began on cult school drama series Waterloo Road as Siobhan aged 14. She later appeared on Prisoner’s Wives, then Dickensian and later made her American debut in Younger.

But you may recognise the Manchester actor most from Snatch, the gangster TV series based on Guy Richie’s film of the same name, where she hustled alongside Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint and Skins’ Luke Pasqualino.

However, for Netflix’s show of the season, Bridgeton, Dynevor takes centre stage.

Based on the popular book series by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton – which follows eight high-society siblings in 1813 – is a period drama with a difference. Forget the passive female characters and lack of diversity in the name of ‘historical accuracy’, it’s Gossip Girl meets Jane Austen.

Bridgerton features a race-blind cast and strong female leads, thanks largely to producer Shonda Rhimes. Known for smart, sexy dramas such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, this is the first release from her $150m Netflix mega deal.

Dynevor plays lead Daphne, the eldest of the Bridgerton daughters. It might be a fashionable, seductive and lavish Regency drama, but the themes reflect the world we live in. Hence the casting, with Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan and Invictus’ Adjoa Andoh.

As Daphne makes her debut into London’s competitive marriage market, a high society scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown (the narrator of the series, played by Julie Andrews) casts aspersions on her hopes.

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