Ruby Stokes on Lockwood & Co's Lucy Carlyle and leaving Bridgerton behind

ruby stokes on lockwood co's and leaving bridgerton behind
Ruby Stokes on Lockwood & Co + leaving Bridgerton Getty Images

When it comes to supernatural teen dramas, Netflix always deliver the goods. Thanks to the likes of Stranger Things and Riverdale, the appetite has never been greater, which is where the new adaptation of Jonathan Stroud's novel series, Lockwood & Co [out now], comes in.

Fronting the eight-part story, alongside newcomer Cameron Chapman and Alex Rider's Ali Hadji-Heshmati, is Ruby Stokes, a softly spoken 22-year-old from Hackney, London. Ruby plays Lucy Carlyle, a rough around the edges teenager, who flees her northern town in search of London, to join a ghost-hunting agency (yes, she has the ability to hear the supernatural).

"What attracted me to the role of Lucy was that she's not just the centre of the story, or the hero, but she's a well-rounded, fleshed out, very normal teenage girl," Stokes tells us over Zoom, with a reserved, almost demure, manner. "She manages to balance this ghost world with going through that universal experience of being a teenager, while speaking her mind and being unapologetically herself.

"She reminded me a lot of myself - only [she's] much cooler."

ruby stokes on lockwood and co's lucy carlyle and leaving bridgerton behind
Ruby Stokes, right, as Lucy Carlyle in Lockwood & CoNetflix

For all intents and purposes, Stokes is pretty cool. Growing up in East London with two younger brothers, she joined a youth circus, later going to drama classes in an attempt to shake her natural shyness. Eventually, a small TV role came up, sparking her love for exploring different characters, before Stokes attended The BRIT school - whose alumni includes Adele, Amy Winehouse and Jessie J.

"It was the best schooling path I could've gone down, I loved it there," Stokes says. "I wasn't the brightest spark [at some lessons], so I did Saturday school for maths, and ended up getting my grades up. [The BRIT school] challenge you to expand your ideas; the teachers were supportive and encouraging."

Age 16, Stokes landed a key part in 2016 movie Una, starring Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn ("I still walk into audition rooms and someone will ask me about it"), working on a number of shorts, plus the award-winning independent film Rocks, in the years that followed.

ruby stokes on lockwood and co's lucy carlyle and leaving bridgerton behind
Getty Images

In 2020 came her biggest break yet, when Stokes joined the little known Bridgerton family as Francesca, the quiet and unassuming sixth sibling, who shows off her piano skills to sister Daphne during season one. "I only did one audition," Stokes says, suddenly animated. "I was on this awful journey to The BRIT School - from Hackney to Croydon on like two busses, a train, another bus - and was like 'Why can't something go right?' And then my agent phoned to say I'd got the role. I was like 'What?!'

"Bridgerton was incredible. I loved working on it, I loved the people and I loved playing that character. I got to be quite observant and take a back seat on what was such a huge scale production. It was very grand; a marvel. It was incredible to get to learn in the way I did."

When Bridgerton season two landed on Netflix in March 2022, Francesca's absence was noticeable, with news of filming schedule clashes between Lockwood & Co and the regency drama emerging. Eventually, it was announced that Stokes would depart the Bridgerton world, with Hannah Dodd from Anatomy Of A Scandal taking over the role.

ruby stokes on lockwood and co's lucy carlyle and leaving bridgerton behind
Getty Images

"[Leaving] was a decision that no one took lightly, but it was incredibly supportive on both sides," Stokes says. "I loved my time on Bridgerton; I learned so much. It prepared me for [being the lead role] on something like Lockwood & Co."

As for season three of the hit Netflix show? Stokes will "100%" be watching, though she didn't pass any words of wisdom on to Dodd. "Oh, no. I don't think I have any advice to impart because I'm sure she's doing an incredible job, and I can't wait to watch. She will bring so much to the role."

As well as dipping her toe into period dramas and the supernatural, Stokes is also working on a Paramount+ series called The Burning Girls, opposite Samantha Morton. In it, she plays Flo, the teenage daughter of a single mother who quickly discover their new town has dark secrets festering below the surface. "It centres around the mother / daughter relationship," Stokes says. "What appears to be a very serene, tranquil place is actually not as it seems, and [my character] spends the series unraveling the secrets of this peculiar little village."

But her dream role would be something that involved transforming physically. "I'd love to step into a character that's totally different from myself, like Lily James did with Pamela Anderson [in Pam & Tommy]. My idol is Dolly Parton, so something like that would be pretty cool.

"I'm excited to work with many different writers, directors, producers, actors. The beauty of the job of an actor is that you get to step into lots of people's shoes, and there's huge amounts of variety. I'm open to all sorts. I'd love to do everything."

Sounds like this is only the beginning.

Lockwood & Co is now streaming on Netflix.

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