‘Bridgerton’ Boss Chris Van Dusen Teases ‘Palplable’ and ‘Magnetic’ Chemistry Between Anthony and Kate in Season 2

In a new interview with TheWrap, the “Bridgerton” creator and EP sets up the conflict – and the romance – when the show drops March 25 on Netflix

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in "Bridgerton" Season 2; Chris Van Dusen, inset (Netflix/Getty Images)
Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in "Bridgerton" Season 2; Chris Van Dusen, inset (Netflix/Getty Images)

Viscount Anthony Bridgerton begins his search for the perfect bride in “Bridgerton” Season 2, but when he crosses paths with the Sharma sisters, and in particular the strong-willed Kate, he may have met his match. Kate, though, starts Season 2 with her heart closed. She sees her purpose in the ton as adviser and guard of her sister, Edwina, as the younger Sharma sister seeks an ideal husband.

“What’s happening this season as far as a central love story, I personally find it the best kind of love story to tell, meaning it’s complicated. It’s very complicated. It’s very messy. And it’s very real, you know, and it wouldn’t be a satisfying ride without those kinds of things,” “Bridgerton” creator and executive producer Chris Van Dusen told TheWrap of the steamy regency romance the drama is built around in Season 2 involving Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate (Simone Ashley).

As the trailers show, Anthony finds himself in the company of both Sharma sisters throughout the ton’s season, and while Edwina (Charithra Chandran) seems to be a perfect fit with the Viscount’s marriage requirements, there’s just something about Kate.

“I don’t think there’s any point in the season when we’re not clear about which romantic love story we’re really telling and focusing on,” Van Dusen continued. “For Anthony and Kate, enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes of the genre. And I think that’s because there’s just so much inherent conflict to mine.

“Anthony and Kate — or Johnny and Simone rather, are just so good at that sort of thing — that razor sharp banter and the constantly one upping of one another,” he added. “It’s so fun and you watch them go toe to toe throughout the season. And you feel that frustration. It’s really palpable and there’s something magnetic about the two of them. They’re opposites that are drawn together and they’re mirror images of each other in a lot of ways. And I think there’s an excitement there that you just know that the payoff, when we get there, it’s going to be worth it.”

A scene between Kate and Anthony in "Bridgerton" Season 2 (Netflix)
A scene between Kate and Anthony in “Bridgerton” Season 2 (Netflix)

In Season 1 of the hit Netflix series, the Viscount, as head of the family, got involved with younger sister Daphne’s (Phoebe Dynevor) debut to nearly disastrous effects. He almost married her off to a creepy aristocrat, and then challenged his best friend, Simon, the Duke of Hastings, to a life or death duel after the Duke and his sister were caught in a compromising position.

Like his sister, Anthony’s own romantic journey is a bumpy road. As the season begins, he has a check list for his potential mate, proving he’s still just as clueless about matchmaking as he was in Season 1. But, viewers will still be invested in Anthony’s journey, something for which Van Dusen credits Bailey.

“Johnny has this really uncanny ability to make you relate to him and you root for him and I know in the first season especially, we had Anthony doing some pretty questionable things and making some questionable decisions, because he’s a flawed character at the end of the day,” the EP told TheWrap. “But I knew I needed an actor strong enough, where you just weren’t going to throw your hands up and just hate him. … There’s always … something that [Bailey] does that really makes you fall in love with [Anthony] and root for him.”

For Anthony, Season 1 opened showing him in an intimate moment with his opera singer mistress (against a tree). By the end of the eight episode run, though, his relationship with Siena had run its course, and duty — to marry and produce a Bridgerton heir — called.

“At the end of the first season, we left him at a bit of a crossroads. And now he’s back, having had to carry the weight of this family on his shoulders. He’s had to learn so many lessons about both life and love and he’s learned them the hard way,” the EP said. “I’ve always said that this show, at its core, is about people figuring out who they are and who they want to be. And I don’t think that could be more couldn’t be more true for Anthony Bridgerton.”

Along the way, Anthony will encounter Edwina, the Sharma sister looking for a match with help from Kate. While some early interviews about Season 2 suggested there is a love triangle headed viewers’ way, Van Dusen suggests a typical definition of the phrase doesn’t fit the bill for “Bridgerton.”

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma in Episode 201 of "Bridgerton" (Liam Daniel/Netflix)
Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma in Episode 201 of “Bridgerton” (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

“I feel like that term … when they hear the word love ‘triangle,’ they think they know what that means. What I think we’re doing on the show, in a really interesting way, is we’re looking at all kinds of love in the series,” the producer explained. “And that’s really what the show is about, and sisterly love is just as important to Season 2 as romantic love, if not more, and I think when you think about it like that, as to whether this is a love ‘triangle’ or not, you know, what’s really happening with Anthony, Kate and Edwina this season, it becomes quite clear.”

As Van Dusen continued, he explained that the Edwina of the TV series is fully fleshed out, and that’s part of why a traditional idea of “love triangle” doesn’t apply. Also, this is “Bridgerton,” which is a show that also wants to set “traditional” on its ears.

“She’s a young woman with her own wants and needs and desires. She’s someone with a rich inner life. And that’s really because I was never interested in tokenizing her. That’s not something that we do or have any interest in doing. I always wanted Edwina Sharma to exist as something – to be more than just a mere prop, ” he said. “And if we didn’t turn Edwina into this fully fleshed out multi-dimensional character, I think a prop is exactly what she’d end up being and I don’t think that makes for good television writing at all.”

So should any members of the ton take the words “love triangle” and think Season 2 involves a cat fight, Van Dusen happily assured us that’s not the case.

“We’re not telling a story in the second season of two girls going for the same guy. I think that would be incredibly boring. And that’d be a story that’s been told hundreds of times,” he said. “And the idea that a show like ‘Bridgerton’ would ever go there, as forward thinking and as modern feeling as we are, I think that’s just plain wrong.”

All episodes of “Bridgerton” Season 2 premieres March 25 on Netflix.

And return to TheWrap later in the week for more from our interview with the show boss.