When Luke Thompson and his fellow “Bridgerton” castmates hit the red carpet in London Tuesday night for the Netflix show’s Season 2 premiere, it’ll be the group’s first big premiere event in series history. And the cast of the Netflix Shondaland drama can’t wait.
“Hugely excited,” Thompson, who plays second Bridgerton sibling Benedict, tells TheWrap during an early afternoon Zoom. “And also, hugely excited because I feel like we’ve got something that’s really – I mean, I’ve seen [all of Season 2] now and it’s absolutely ‘Bridgerton.’ It’s absolutely the world that we created in the first series, but it’s also very different, which is brilliant. I think the advantage of having a series where you switch the leads like that every season is brilliant because it gives it a whole new breath of fresh air. We’ve got a whole new family in there. Even just the feel of the show … it goes somewhere different, which is so fun to share.”
After “Bridgerton” made its debut on Netflix on Christmas Day 2020, it quickly became Netflix’s most-viewed show (a record eventually broken by “Squid Game”). Fans were swept up in the Regency romance of eldest Bridgerton daughter, Daphne as she and Simon, the Duke of Hastings, fell in love — and eventually found their happy ending. The show, though, from creator Chris Van Dusen, and based on Julia Quinn’s novels, also introduced viewers to the delightful Bridgerton family – a loving brood of eight siblings (named in alphabetical order) and their mother, Lady Violet. It’s fitting then, that the first scene Thompson remembers filming for Season 2, involved the family viewers have come to love.
“I think the first thing we did was a big family scene, which are those lovely scenes in the living room where everyone’s sitting around doing something, and everyone sort of says something horrible about another sibling,” he recounted, with a laugh. “That’s pretty much what those scenes are like, and they’re so fun to play, because they’re so bouncy and we sort of all bounce off each other.
“But, you know, we came back and it was strange, because it was sort of simultaneously like we’d never left … but also this strange sense of, God, it’s like climbing back into a dream,” he continued. “What was so strange as well was how quickly we just dropped back into it, and how quickly it was like no time had passed and all those relationships – you just pick up where you left off.”
As the show turns its central love story focus on first-born Bridgerton sibling, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), and his search for a bride, it also expands the worlds of the other of-marriage-age Bridgerton siblings, including Thompson’s Benedict. Indeed, in a recent interview with TheWrap, executive producer Van Dusen said Benedict’s arc goes beyond the world of Mayfair and the ton. For Thompson, though, while he did have “a little conversation” with a member of the writing staff about his character’s storyline, he’s glad he didn’t know the exact road his second sibling character (the spare in peerage circles) would embark on in Season 2.
“You don’t have too much of an inkling and actually, in a strange kind of way, as an actor, you don’t really want too much of an inkling because if you do, if you know exactly where you’re going, you can end up doing an awful lot of signposting and explaining your journey through things rather than actually just living it,” he explained. “I think actually, in a strange kind of way, as in life, we don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. It’s sort of better to not know too much.”
Benedict, however, remains very much involved in the main storyline, as well. He’s at his eldest brother’s side (or at least next to him at the shaving basin) as Anthony seeks a woman to make his Viscountess.
“One of the things I was really pleased about from the first few episodes that then carries on is the developing of the relationship with Anthony, for example, which I think really sort of comes to life in a way that we maybe didn’t have time for in the first season,” Thompson told TheWrap.
That particular family portrait should include plenty of Benedict’s ribbing of his sometimes exasperating elder brother in an attempt to get under his skin.
“When you’re siblings, I guess you’re sort of made of the same stuff. You have huge similarities, which simultaneously makes you a really good person to confide in, but also sort of the worst person because you’re too similar. And so actually, I think what’s lovely about their relationship is that in all of those scenes, you sort of feel like the needling and this sort of teasing is actually their sort of way of understanding each other and themselves,” Thompson said.
“It’s really fun to play because it’s very complex,” he added. “It’s very difficult to get hold of and it is not a straightforward relationship. And that also makes it a lot of fun to watch, I think, because they don’t let each other off the hook.”
Though they play brothers on a television series, Thompson and Bailey have plenty in common to pull from in building their on screen rapport. For example, their backgrounds both feature a great deal of theater work. In fact, sometimes one after the other.
“I’ll tell you what … it goes further than that. … The job I did before ‘Bridgerton,’ I was in ‘King Lear,’ and I was playing a part but I was taking over from Jonathan. So Jonathan played the part before and then, when we went to the West End [in London], I took over,” Thompson said. “And actually, when I walked into the costume fitting, he was doing a musical at the time, I think he was doing ‘Company,’ and as soon as I walked into the costume fitting, knowing nothing about ‘Bridgerton’ and who was cast, they sort of said, ‘You’re in ‘Company,’ aren’t you?’ And I said ‘No, but I know exactly why you’re asking me that question.’
“What I think is really lovely is that it’s sort of rare for actors who are – broadly speaking – in the same casting bracket, whatever you want to call it, to actually act together. A lot of times, we wouldn’t necessarily be in a project together, if that makes sense. So actually, it’s been really lovely to sort of explore that,” he said.
“Bridgerton” Season 2 begins streaming March 25 on Netflix.