London's high society has never seen a couple like them. In Netflix's breakout winter series Bridgerton, Phoebe Dynevor, 25, plays the eldest daughter of a powerful family looking for a husband, and Regé-Jean Page, 31, is the dashing Duke of Hastings, a reformed rake who is one the city's most eligible bachelors.
Here, the stars share their thoughts on the steamy, stylish Regency-era romance that is anything but your grandmother's period piece!
Phoebe, how would you describe Daphne?
She's the first young woman in the family who has to find a husband and be out on the Marriage Mart. At first, she sort of conforms to these old-fashioned social rules that obviously very much bound women at the time, but then grows into her own. She manages to have a voice and to be able to say yes or no, and she's still very much in control of her future, really. Her story is a fascinating coming of age.
Regé, it must be fun playing Simon, who's quite the dashing rogue.
He is a tall, dark, mysterious, brooding kind of a duke. He's very much the archetype of your surly anti-hero and romantic figure of desire. But he's thoroughly complex and thoroughly wounded, and desperately needs fixing. He's a beautifully mixed bag of things for me to play with.
Phoebe, you've done period dramas before. How is Bridgerton different?
All of the women, not just Daphne, have agency in their own way. And we see Daphne's journey through the female gaze, which is so prevalent throughout the show. She's discovering her sexuality, which has been hidden from her — she has absolutely no idea what sex or what romance really is. We've never seen that one aspect of women during this period, where they were almost non-sexual beings in a way and not really portrayed as having that appetite.
Regé, what kind of physical training did you do for the role?
We were incredibly prepared in terms of endless etiquette lessons, dance lessons, horse-riding, boxing — but the joy is it all kind of [becomes] one. When you look at people's music, literature and body language, that starts to do its own work. You know, you're in your riding boots all day and you're in these great, big glamorous clothes, and you start to relate to each other very differently.
Phoebe, would you say that for all the 19th-century trappings, Bridgerton has a modern feel?
The relationship between Daphne and Simon rings very true today. They've come from very different places, but form a genuine friendship. They're equals, and I think that's why they end up falling for each other. That aside, the dialogue is so quick, and everything just feels more exciting. The show has created this completely new world.
Regé, what's your take?
[Period dramas] are traditionally very conservative. To me, the show feels like it's been dipped in cotton candy — it's just funnier, faster, more glamorous, more colorful and a lot of fun. It's a little bit like a period drama on steroids.