How to Get Cast on ‘Bridgerton’

Article Image
Photo Source: Liam Daniel/Netflix

To rework a line from Lady Whistledown: Dear Reader, let it be known that if there is an audition, Backstage shall uncover it—and, of course, share every last detail. “Bridgerton” is executive producer Shonda Rhimes’ inaugural Netflix project as part of her $150 million production deal with the streamer. 

Created by Chris Van Dusen, the period drama is based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling 2000 novel series that chronicles the romances of the Bridgerton family in Regency-era London. The eight siblings—and their mother, Lady Violet (Ruth Gemmell)—are at the heart of the show’s machinations surrounding arranged marriages, grand balls, and scandals galore. Season 3 is set to premiere on May 16, and a fourth season is already in the works. 

If you’re burning for a spot in the ensemble, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about getting cast on “Bridgerton.”

JUMP TO

What is “Bridgerton” about?

Each season follows a specific Bridgerton sibling as they set out to find a match among the London “ton.” The series also focuses on the Featherington family, led by striving matriarch Portia (Polly Walker); and Lady Agatha Danbury (Adjoa Andoh), an expert in the goings-on at the court of Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel). The story is narrated by mysterious gossip pamphleteer Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews). 

Season 1 focused on Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest Bridgerton daughter, and her tumultuous romance with confirmed bachelor Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page). The second season followed Anthony, the head of the Bridgerton family, as he became embroiled in a love triangle with Kate (Simone Ashley) and Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran).

Season 3 turns its attention to the third Bridgerton son, Colin (Luke Newton). In a break from book order, this installment is based on the fourth novel in Quinn’s series, “Romancing Mister Bridgerton” (2002). 

The true focus of the season isn’t Colin himself, but his love interest and longtime friend, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan)—who, on the Season 3 finale (spoiler alert!) was revealed to be Lady Whistledown herself. She initially gives Colin the cold shoulder, having decided that she’s over her long-standing crush. But when he agrees to be her matchmaking mentor, the two discover that they may belong together after all.

Who’s in the cast of “Bridgerton”?

Season 3 features the series regulars we’ve come to know, as well as some new faces. 

  • Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington
  • Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton
  • Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton
  • Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton
  • Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte
  • Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury
  • Ruth Gemmell as Violet Bridgerton
  • Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton
  • Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma
  • Polly Walker as Portia Featherington
  • Julie Andrews as Lady Whistledown
  • Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton
  • Harriet Cains as Philipa Featherington
  • Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington
  • Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper
  • Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton
  • Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich
  • Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton
  • Hugh Sachs as Brimsley
  • Lorraine Ashbourne as Mrs. Varley
  • Emma Naomi as Alice Mondrich
  • Kathryn Drysdale as Genevieve Delacroix 
  • Daniel Francis as Marcus Anderson
  • James Phoon as Harry Dankworth
  • Sam Phillips as Lord Debling

Bridgerton

Who are the casting directors for “Bridgerton”?

Kelly Valentine Hendry was the principal CD for Seasons 1 and 2. Her U.K.-based company, KVH Casting, also assembled the ensembles of “Fleabag,” “The Wheel of Time,” and “Bridgerton” spinoff “Queen Charlotte.” Cole Edwards, who was previously a casting associate on the series, took the reins for Season 3. 

As with other Rhimes series, such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” the ensemble of “Bridgerton” spans a wide variety of races and ethnicities—something that, even a few years ago, would have been unheard of for a period drama. It’s a conceit that, in a break from Quinn’s novels, is worked into the story itself.

“I’m ashamed to say that the word ‘inclusive’ only started to be used a few years ago in our business,” Hendry told British Vogue. “It was a world of white men making content through their own lenses. It wasn’t until recently that I felt confident enough to challenge the people I answer to.”

Hendry told us that she casts a wide net when looking for new talent. “That doesn’t take away the importance of training and drama schools, but if we are to be inclusive with our casting, we should be allowed to look for talent anywhere and everywhere. And we do. I won’t give my secrets away here. What I will say is I snoop around on fan sites a lot and pinch ideas all the time.”

When getting in touch with a CD via email, Hendry recommends using a subject line that’s brief and to the point. “For example, in ‘The Last Kingdom,’ [I told actors if they] happen to be Scandinavian, you put: ‘Scandinavian 6'5" actor re: “The Last Kingdom.” ’ I’m definitely opening that, because I’m running out of big, strapping Vikings! So just be clear in the subject [line], and keep it short, simple, and specific.”

She encourages actors to get comfortable with self-taping, particularly if they don’t have an agent. “If you get in touch in the correct manner—I just mean politely, at the right time—and you can get your self-tape to a casting director, then you’re off,” she says. 

Hendry’s tips for recording an audition at home include:

  • “I don’t like white backgrounds. They don’t make you look as good. You want a blue or a gray, and you want to light yourself.” 
  • “Make sure that your sound is really good, and have your readers stand a little bit away from the camera, because you want to just hear them. Sometimes readers are terrible, and it genuinely does distract. Quite often, directors will watch with headphones on, and they’ll have really good headphones that pick up all the extra noise. It doesn’t take much for things to annoy people.”
  • “Attempt to perfect your self-tape, but don’t think about it too much.”

If you end up in the room with Hendry, she says you can expect “an inclusive space—and hopefully a space [where] you can do your best work.” But there are a few things that turn her off. 

“Don’t be in any way negative or be disappointed that you are seeing an assistant or an associate and not the lead casting director,” she said. “Believe you me—you want to be in the room with them. I am often stuck on long, boring business affairs types of calls, and my team is amazing at meetings. Please give them the respect that they deserve. They are tomorrow’s casting directors.”

How does the casting process work for “Bridgerton”?

For Season 1, actors were asked to submit audition tapes to the producers and CDs; the team would then reach out to them to schedule a callback. 

Some actors auditioned for different roles than the ones they ended up playing. 

Bailey, for example, originally went in for the part of Simon; then, the production company and Van Dusen suggested he read for Anthony. “Ultimately, it’s really exciting when you’re told the character you should be thinking about,” Bailey told Oprah Daily. “They saw something in me, and they were like, ‘Go on—you can do it.’ ”

Hendry told Backstage, “We were lucky that we didn’t require ‘names’ for the roles, so we had a lot of freedom and could bring in anyone we felt suitable. A mixture of ideas, lists, and in-person casting kicked off the process, and then actors were either chosen by our creatives there and then, or we waited and brought most into the studio when we had the creatives in London for recalls. 

“As the episodes went on and we were down to day players, we used a mixture of self-tape requests and in-person meetings with Cole Edwards, my associate on this project, who worked extremely hard,” she added.

Dynevor told us that, after submitting audition tapes for two different roles, she didn’t hear anything from producers for about three months. Then, out of the blue, she got a call about meeting with Van Dusen and executive producer Betsy Beers. A few days later, the team brought Dynevor in for a chemistry read with Page, who had just been cast as Simon. 

“Shonda Rhimes was in the room, which was very daunting and exciting. And the director and Chris Van Dusen, our showrunner, were in the room,” Dynevor said. “And it felt good, and there was something exciting about that. In acting, sometimes, there’s something quite intangible. You can feel the chemistry, and I felt that. But as an actor who obviously is fairly used to a lot of noes, you push that aside…. The next day, I got a call saying, ‘[the role of Daphne is] yours. Can you fly out to London in a few days?’ ”

“I’ve cast a lot of ensembles, and I really love it when there is a massive world to create,” Hendry said. “In that world, there are lots of different forms of chemistry: friends, families, and lovers. There was a clear distinction from the start between the Bridgertons and their neighbors, the Featheringtons. And once we cast a couple of them, the rest were easier to add.” 

The audition process was quick for Coughlan. “When I went for the first audition, I only had a couple of days to prepare; I didn’t have time to read the books or do anything like that,” she told Parade. “I just thought, I’ll give this a go, and if I get a second call, then I’ll read everything. But that didn’t happen; I just got the job.”

Hendry said that although many of the older cast members are well-known in the U.K., they still auditioned for their roles. “You know what I love about the cast of ‘Bridgerton’? They nearly all read for the parts, and that is highly commendable, especially for the older actors. I respect that hugely. We did ideas lists so that when we did meet actors, we knew that we were serious about them already. Oh, how I wish we could have cast more.”

When does filming for “Bridgerton” Season 4 start?

Netflix renewed the series for a third and fourth season in 2021, but few details have been released about the future installment. Since the third season doesn’t follow the books chronologically, fans aren’t sure who will succeed Penelope and Colin as the lead couple—but the cast does. “We do know the answer, but we’re not gonna tell you,” Coughlan said to Hello.

Bridgerton

Where can you find “Bridgerton” casting calls and auditions?

Currently, there are no open calls. But with Season 4 on its way and eight books in the series—as well as potential future spinoffs—there’s plenty more romance ahead. 

Keep an eye on our main casting page to stay on top of the latest Netflix casting calls, and check out our guide on how to audition for the streamer so you’ll be ready when the opportunity strikes.

Bridgerton

What are the best audition tips for landing a role on “Bridgerton”?

Be persistent. Dynevor started acting at age 11, when she convinced her parents to let her attend an open audition for the 2007 film “The Golden Compass.” Though she didn’t land that project, she got her first gig on the BBC’s “Waterloo Road” a few years later. 

She advises young actors to stick with it, even if they don’t book roles right away. “It’s funny, but it’s actually only when you start working or you get a bit of success that you look back and you go, Oh, I didn’t get that ’cause it wasn’t right, and it wasn’t the right time. So just keep going, be resilient, and learn your craft in [whatever] way you can. But know that it’ll come when you’re ready.”

Learn to deal with rejection. It’s never easy to deal with a long string of noes, so Dynevor suggests approaching auditions with a more casual attitude. “I think when things started changing for me, it was [when I began thinking that] I’m not gonna go in and beg for a job,” she explained. “That was a little bit of a turning point for me, when I just thought, You know? Fuck it. I’m just going to do what I think’s right, and they either take it or they don’t. There’s something to be said for playing a bit hard-to-get in those situations.”

Pay close attention to notes. If you’re asked to return for a callback, Hendry stresses the importance of taking direction from directors and CDs. “It is single-handedly one of the reasons that people don’t get the job. You can do a blinding audition with the directors, then I ask you to do it again, and give you a couple of little notes. If you do not do those notes, after the person leaves, they say, ‘I love their first tape, but they don’t take direction.’ Just make sure you change it as asked.”

Take time to regroup. Before starring on “Bridgerton,” Coughlan endured many a failed audition. “A lot of people think they would like to be an actor, but unless it really truly makes your heart happy, I would not do it,” she told the Belfast Telegraph. “There is a lot of rejection—an awful lot. It’s tough.” 

She quickly learned there’s “nothing wrong with regrouping,” because beating yourself up over what you think of as failures is a “horrible way to treat yourself.” Instead, Coughlan advises actors to “stay hungry for it…. You’ve got to find the joy in whatever job you’re doing or lucky enough to have.”

For the Netflix casting calls and jobs, click here!

More From How to Get Cast On

Recommended

More From Actors + Performers

Now Trending