Picking just one word to describe a season is anything but easy. But during the Bridgerton global press conference the Bridgerton cast was asked to do just that – and boy, did they deliver. Roller coaster (cheating, it’s two words!), Pall Mall, volatility, dynasty, yearning, betrayal, sisterhood, the cast all went in different ways when it came to picking a word. And they all kind of apply.
Yes, this season is a wild ride, as Chris Van Dusen himself promised. “We worked really hard to bring everything that fans fell in love with about season one into season two,” he said. “And I think we did it and it’s amazing. It’s emotional and romantic and sexy and scandalous. And I think we’re back for an even greater escape into 19th century Regency London.”
It all starts, of course with Anthony, who, Jonathan Bailey shared starts the season “making a callous decision that he needs to find a wife, but only to find one that would suit him on the page and not link up with his heart and his love. He’s taking love out of the equation, and he’s had this quite complicated sort of mistress affair in series one, and he’s shaved off his sideburns and he’s ready to go.”
Look, the sideburns might just be the most important part.
Bailey also shared that he got back into the character by listening to the audiobook. And that, as much as there is a sense of pressure to now being the lead, meeting Simone was all he needed for everything to fall into place. “When you meet someone as well and have a partnership that we’ve had, I think everything just sort of clicks.”
“It’s a thrill to be able to jump into a romantic male character that we sort of know quite well through literature. But then to be able to sort of really understand that avoidance and toxicity that Anthony definitely carried (in the first season) and probably will continue to. But, yeah, he’s got troubled past, and that’s been great to explore. And obviously to see him smile more was always the thing that I looked forward to when he gets there through meeting Kate.”
The season is not just about trauma, Chris Van Dusen promised, it’s about the “game that’s happening between Kate and Anthony.” And though Season 1 explored that with a lot of sex scenes, Season 2 holds back a bit. “It was never about quantity for us,” Van Dusen explained, sharing that their approach to intimacy was the same as in the previous season.
“We use these intimate scenes to tell a story and to push a story forward. And we’ve never done a sex scene for the sake of doing a sex scene, and I don’t think we ever will. It all serves as a larger purpose, and it’s a different story this season.”
Bailey also added that, for him, the season serves as a nod to the future, and the different ways people fall in love. “I think Kate and Anthony feel explicit in the way that they feel naked in front of each other. And I think that’s also a very interesting, cerebral way of exploring that sort of innate sexuality.”
Van Dusen even went as far as to promise that “there’s so much sexiness and just.. the looks across the room and the hands grazing and the fingers almost touching, and you can really feel that build from episode to episode, scene to scene, really. And you know that when we get there, the climax, if you will, the payoff is going to be well worth it.”
As for the emotional connection, Bailey added that “both Kate and Anthony have this sort of weird thing where they exist for other people and their sense of boundaries, I think, is something that they have to really come to terms with. And their isolation in their family scenes means that when they meet, they finally have this sort of addictive quality to the time spent together.”
Outside of the main love story, Ashley shared her joy at the fact that the show has “brought a sense of joy to representing many different cultures. And for this one, specifically, South Asian cultures,” while also adding that Kate Sharma taught her to “be less reserved and be a bit more open.” To her, Kate “has a very warm, soft heart and maybe has an exterior where she is quite protective over that and that’s mirrored in her protection over her family.”
Which, if you think about it, is a lot like Anthony.
As for the relationship with Edwina, Ashley shared that their relationship is unique because “they only have each other and they’ve grown up in isolation so with that comes an increased dependency and higher state.” And both her and Chandran were of one mind in saying that at first Kate is this incredibly protective sister, sometimes too protective, but in the end, Kate ends up learning from Edwina too.
Luke Thompson also got to share his perspective of Benedict in this season, and sort of what it means going into the next one – his turn, saying that Benedict is “sort of, in that sort of very brotherly way, experiencing everything that’s going on but through someone else and sort of seeing how it’s impacting him.” This was very fun to play for him, as it “rang true as a sort of brotherly connection,” which is something he, Bailey and Newton clearly feel.
Newton, meanwhile, also had a quip about Colin’s facial hair (better than the sideburns, but not much) as he discussed Colin also sort of removing himself from any romantic feelings and just sort of, having fun at Anthony’s expense.
But fun was something the entire cast apparently had at a lot of (please give us the blooper reel), and apparently the worst was Jonathan Bailey, who just straight up admitted he would always be the first to crack. “There’s something I think, possibly, about playing a character that’s so inward that demands a certain level of cognitive thought. And when the Bridgerton family are all together, and we’re trying to get through our lines at speed, you can just see… if you just see one person falling off the metaphorical horse in terms of what they’re saying, you can see the twinkle in their eyes very quickly. Those long scenes become really traumatic.”
Fun is what he means. Fun. Like the entire cast clearly had filming. And that was the biggest takeaway from the global press conference. These people actually like each other. Truly. And that makes the finished product all the more enjoyable.