Jonathan Bailey always knew that Bridgerton would be extraordinary. However, he couldn’t have foreseen how big of a hit the period drama would become, especially in its second season, where his character Anthony’s courtship with Kate (Simone Ashley), was front and center.
There were many factors that initially drew Bailey to the project, and he says that the chance to put romance forth as a more serious genre is a bonus.
“[I loved] the romance genre being given this platform — it’s always been seen as quite a lightweight literature,” the actor says, speaking on a London stage where he stars in Cock, a Mike Bartlett revival. “Of course, it’s fluffy because it’s accessible and it’s hopefully something that you can bathe in. But at the same time, it can really tap into very human, very private and very high-stakes human experiences.”
He adds, “There’s a lot of pressure on romance, I think, because you have to be so truthful. But that’s what you want, isn’t it? You just want to find the truth in everything.”
Bailey had a thriving on-stage career before he landed a role as a brooding viscount on Bridgerton.
But starring mostly on British TV shows, he wasn’t particularly popular among American audiences. Today, Bailey is quite the household name, shot into superstardom by his role as the emotionally reserved head of household whose decisions are bound by filial duties.
Bailey’s character, Anthony, is a man of complicated emotions. He says in an interview with LA Times: “If there’s ever a character you can pour your sense of isolation or pandemic anxiety into, it’s Anthony.”
The actor reveals that to achieve genuine emotions, he and co-star Simone Ashley never discussed their respective roles, to allow the tension to play out in real-time. He says:
“You want to pace the intimacy and how the layers are peeled away.”
Bailey compared the experience with the rehearsal period in theater, where he was “in the room for seven weeks and able to really make mistakes.” When doing a show such as Bridgerton, he shares that the “rehearsal period really happens in your own mind, on your own.”
But whether he’s on a West End stage or in an on-screen drama, when it comes to his work, the approach is the same for Bailey: he wants to be as truthful and sincere as possible. Even when he’s feeling more self-aware than usual.
Speaking about uncomfortable moments on-set, he recalls one particularly awkward moment while filming a bathtub scene with Ashley. He shares:
“There was actually a camera in the water between my legs looking back at me, so it was almost like a water birth. And I remember afterwards, I was so appalled at myself over the day that we had experienced and so confused, because you can’t really explain it to anyone.
It was just when the rules changed and you could go meet people outside, so I went to a pub that night and had a pint with my mates. When I got up to get the second round, I was like, ‘I’m chafing a bit.’ And I realized I still had my modesty thong on, because I was so traumatized and I ran so quickly from set that I hadn’t even taken off my little pouch. I still have it to this day.”
Our Jonny truly is the epitome of dedication to one’s craft, is he not?
Source: LA Times