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Why Nicola Coughlan would ‘just start crying’ while filming ‘Bridgerton’

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Why Nicola Coughlan would ‘just start crying’ while filming ‘Bridgerton’

Coughlan takes over as the romantic lead of “Bridgerton” in Season Three, stepping out from the yellow floral walls she once quite literally blended into and “into the light,” as the episode titles alone convey.

 

Before “Bridgerton,” Coughlan was best known for her role in “Derry Girls,” a Channel 4 comedy set to go down as a cult classic. Her character, the high-pitched, neurotic, anxious Clare is the opposite of wry, kind, charming Penelope Featherington, who’s revealed to be moonlighting as gossip columnist Lady Whistledown in Season One’s cliffhanger.

“Bridgerton” brings a new level of fame for the actor. Part One of the Season Three, which hit Netflix May 16, drew more than 45 million viewers in its debut weekend, per Deadline.

But Coughlan was ready.

“Nerves are good if you can live with them,” she tells TODAY.com in an interview. “If you let it be a bubbly feeling in my stomach, it can mean that you just want to do a really good job.”

“Bridgerton” has a devoted fanbase, bringing together loyal Netflix viewers, fans of a good period drama and, the most passionate, lovers of the show’s source material, Julia Quinn’s eight-book “Bridgerton” series, first published in 2000.

Given the fandom, Coughlan concedes some scenes had higher stakes than others. Coughlan and Luke Newton, who plays Penelope’s love interest, Colin, agree on which.

“The carriage,” Newton says in a joint interview with Coughlan.

“The carriage scene” has become a shorthand for a pivotal scene in the fourth “Bridgerton” book, “Romancing Mister Bridgerton.” In both the show and the novel, Colin finally admits his feelings for Penelope, and the two have sex for the first time in a moving carriage.

“I think any (scenes) that were both book related and steamy,” Coughlan says. “We definitely felt — it was not like so much of pressure, it was like a nervous energy. And I would liken it to the feeling as an actor right before you’re going to step on stage.”

It’s unusual for Coughlan to feel that “nervous energy” while filming TV and movie projects.

“That’s actually not, for me anyhow, a common feeling filming something because you don’t have an audience watching you. But those days it felt like we were about to step in front of an audience,” she says.

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