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.
Enter eligible bachelor Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page). Despite both proclaiming they want nothing to do with each other, their attraction is undeniable. We watch as Daphne navigates the restraints of being a young woman in this era while discovering her sexuality, falling in love and eventually finding herself.
The Greatest Showman costume designer Ellen Mirojnick provides scene-stealing fashion moments and there’s enough drama to fill any Kardashian-shaped hole in your life. Expect the Bridgertons to be your new favourite TV family.
Bridgerton is a must-watch because...
It feels like there’s something for everyone. I watched it all with my family and they loved it, which is great because they have such different tastes. Everyone is reflected, from the characters to storylines and it has a real Christmas feel. Even though it’s set in a different era, there are so many parallels with modern society like Daphne’s storyline about the pressure of trying to be perfect as a young girl. The series shows that society hasn’t really changed, we all value the same things today, we’re just living in a slightly different world.
I wore over 100 dresses on set…
I made sure I got a half corset instead of a full one so I wasn’t dying on set every day. Mr Pearl, who did Kim Kardashian’s corset for the Met Gala, created them bespoke, which was exciting. I had a fitting for a new dress every week so it was a pretty insane experience for wardrobe. The costume designer Ellen Mirojnick is a genius. I worked really closely with her and we made sure the dresses went from light blue to dark velvet as her character develops and scenes get steamy.
I made a Bridgerton Playlist…
For Daphne, I played lots of classical music like Debussy’s Clair De Lune, but also some unexpected songs, like from Amélie and La La Land to bring romance. There are also a few crying songs, one for every mood Daphne can ever be in. This and the different wigs helped me tap into Daphne at different moments of her journey.
What I’ve been listening to recently…
I’m obsessed with every single album from Jhené Aiko. I’m into meditation and sound healing, and her latest album uses lots of these kinds of noises. Also, my younger sister has been playing the Hamilton soundtrack constantly in my house at the moment.
What I’ve been watching recently…
In lockdown, I watched The Morning Show and it was one of my favourite shows of the year. It was such an interesting take on women in the media industry, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show shining a light so openly behind the scenes. And obviously, I’m obsessed with Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. I’ve also been loving The Undoing more recently, it was great to have something to look forward to every week instead of binging the series in one go.
My biggest fan girl moment was this year…
I wore one of Victoria Beckham’s coats in a magazine shoot and she posted it on her Instagram story and tagged me in it. I used to be a huge Spice Girls fan, so having Victoria Beckham tag me in a story was unbelievable.
When I’m filming I always like to watch classic films like…
Breakfast at Tiffanys, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Step Brothers. They're are my go-to comfort films when I’m working on a project.
I would absolutely love to work with...
David Lynch and definitely Damien Chazelle because La La Land is one of my favourite films, but my director list is very long. As for actors, I’m hugely in awe of Cate Blanchett – and Meryl Streep, obviously. One of the first performances I remember being blown away by as a child was Meryl Streep in A Series of Unfortunate Events. When I got a bit older, I discovered Gina Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence which became one of my all-time favourite films. I admire her so much, her performance was so unhinged and vulnerable, I thought it was incredible.
My favourite film this year has to be…
Marriage Story, it felt so truthful and real. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver gave such vulnerable performances and everything about it was moving, down to the way it was filmed. I also loved Uncut Gems, it kept me on my toes the whole time.
I’m always reading a book…
My favourite book is Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, it’s a book I recommend to all my female friends. It hits you differently in so many stages of your life, so it’s one I go back to a lot.
I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara in lockdown and was completely hooked. I’m trying to get into 19th century philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky at the moment because my friend is obsessed with him and I want to be able to talk to him about philosophers.
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