The following interview for Backstage’s on-camera series The Slate was compiled in part by Backstage readers just like you! Follow us on Twitter (@Backstage) and Instagram (@backstagecast) to stay in the loop on upcoming interviews and to submit your questions.
It’s official! Shondaland’s latest hit (and its first for Netflix), “Bridgerton,” has been renewed for Season 2. We can’t say it comes as a surprise: Audiences have been raving about the characters, performances, costumes, sets, romances, and more since its Christmas debut, and 63 million viewers have tuned in in the first month alone. Breakout star Phoebe Dynevor brings life to Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest daughter of the period drama’s lead family. While Dynevor is currently in the United Kingdom enjoying the show’s acclaim at home with her family, she sat down over Instagram Live with our managing editor Benjamin Lindsay to discuss adapting Julia Quinn’s beloved book series for the streaming screen, her chemistry building and intimacy training with costar Regé-Jean Page, her advice to those who want to pursue the performing arts (she was born into them!), and more.
Dynevor found that ample rehearsal time before filming lent itself to onscreen chemistry.
“I think we were really lucky in the sense that we had six weeks of rehearsal time before we started shooting, which is amazing, really. It’s not often that you get that time. So we really cherished that. And we had to do so many dances throughout the show, so a lot of our time was spent rehearsing the amazing sequences that you see and really trying to get that right. It really helped form a chemistry. There’s definitely something to be said for having a dancing partner and trusting each other and having to create something together which then really informs the performance, in a way. We did a lot of intimacy coordination, as well, which we rehearsed before we started filming, and that was really informative. It just enabled us to feel really safe around each other. We formed a friendship, we formed a working bond, and we both felt safe within that and we talked a lot about what we wanted out of it. Just having all that time is such a gift.”
“Bridgerton” was Dynevor’s first time working with an intimacy coordinator, and she hopes to see the practice continue.
“It was my first time working with an intimacy coordinator, and it was a brilliant experience. I felt so safe. It just really felt like a stunt, you know? You rehearse a stunt so that nobody gets hurt, it looks good, it looks really real, but no one gets injured, and it’s very much like that. You’re rehearsing it so that everyone feels comfortable and that there’s no one that can ever get crossed because you’re very specific with what you’re doing. And also, it just makes everyone feel comfortable, not just the actress, but the actor, and the crew members. It just makes for a safer space, and therefore you can let loose a bit more and feel freer within that role that you’re playing. It was so helpful. I’ve done intimate scenes without a coordinator in the past, and it’s a very, very different experience. So yeah, I just hope it becomes a necessity, really, that you have to have one on set.”
Looking ahead to season 2, she has her own hopes for Daphne’s journey.
“I mean, I hope she gets involved in Antony’s love life as much as he was involved in hers, I think that’s one! And then I think, yeah, love is very complex and it’s never necessarily a happy ending, there’s always challenges to face along the way. So I think there probably will be more, and I hope to explore those. I think that would be fun.”
Dynevor has always been fascinated by those who work in the arts.
“Everyone in my family has a weird leg in the industry. My grandpa was a director and my grandma was a third AD, so you’d always hear stories growing up just of being on set and of actors. Actors just seemed like really fascinating people. I really remember the stories that my parents would tell of these amazing actors, so it was sort of figuring out, ‘OK, what is this? What part of this business do I want?’ Because I really wanted to be a part of this family. Not just the acting, but whatever part you are of making a production, especially something like ‘Bridgerton,’ there’s so much talent, and they’re all coming together to make this beautiful thing. And then I just, yeah, started falling in love with films and watching my mom, I went to see her on set a bit, and so the bug kicked in pretty early, and by 13, that was it. I was gonna be an actor and no one was stopping me.”
Her years in the business has had high highs and low lows, just like anyone else’s.
“There’s so many peaks and troughs, there’s so much rejection, and to be able to be an actor and have really thick skin and also be able to emote is quite a difficult thing to do. 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. I just started going in and thinking: I’m just gonna give you what I think is right and either you like it or you don’t.And that was a little bit of a turning point for me, when I just thought, you know, Fuck it. I’m just gonna 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…. It’s not an easy thing to do but it really does make a difference, I think.”
To younger actors out there, she says: “Just keep going.”
“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.’ And I feel like it will come at the right time, you just have to keep going and you have to keep believing in yourself, and don’t try and change for anything because what makes you unique is what’s gonna get you a certain part. It just has to be at the right time. Being in the right place at the right time. So just keep going, and be resilient, and learn your craft in whichever way you can. But know that it’ll come when you’re ready.”
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