Shonda Rhimes, ‘Queen Charlotte’ Cast on Telling an “Empowering” Story in ‘Bridgerton’ Spinoff

At a special screening in London's Leicester Square, the cast and crew behind the prequel series discussed what makes creator Rhimes' storytelling so special.

London’s Leicester Square was transported to The Ton for Netflix’s garden party-themed screening of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

Rainfall gave way to sunshine just in time on Friday night as the newest members of London high society graced the red carpet for the Bridgerton prequel series, which follows the origins of a mischievous Queen Charlotte and her arranged marriage to King George III. 

“I could not tell you,” Rhimes told The Hollywood Reporter on what makes her stories so special —Bridgerton’s first season totted up 625 million hours of viewing within the first four weeks of its release. “Only that I know we really try hard to make shows that we want to watch, things that we’re passionate about… I am always amazed that other people like them too.”

With no foot-tall wigs or regency-inspired petticoats to reckon with, the cast, including India Amarteifio and Corey Mylchreest — playing a young Queen Charlotte and her sovereign suitor, respectively — waved hello to fans of the highly popular period series, one that has shot Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page, and Jonathan Bailey to stardom. 

“I spoke to Regé at a party and Jonathan’s been very lovely on the phone,” Mylchreest revealed to THR when asked about following the footsteps of fellow Bridgerton men and his future as a heartthrob. “And they both said, ‘Don’t worry.’ It all seems very surreal… But I mean, Freddie [Dennis, playing fictional valet Reynolds] will be targeted much more than me.”

Other newcomers to the cast, including Arsema Thomas as a young Lady Danbury and Sam Clemmett, a young Brimsley, made their way around an impressive set-up that required guests walk on pristinely-cut grass — fit for a game of croquet — and avoid bumping into an eye-catching gold carriage.

“Witty, joyful, empowering,” Clemmett said when asked to describe the season, directed by Tom Verica, in three words.

Based on characters written by Julia Quinn, the series focuses on Queen Charlotte (played by Golda Rosheuvel in Bridgerton), her rise to royalty and eventual love story with a dashing young King. 

“I couldn’t have asked for a better scene partner,” Amarteifio said on her character’s chemistry with Mylchreest. “So trusting, so talented. A friend for life.”

But Amarteifio’s introduction into the prim and proper world of Bridgerton was not so formal – she admitted to finding out she had landed the role as she got into the shower, “Shower cap on, got a call, realized I should probably pick up and luckily, I did,” she said.

Amarteifio also touched on feeling as though Queen Charlotte “represents things to a lot of people” and holds “a lot of weight” – a sentiment Rosheuvel echoed. 

“Charlotte is very much a character who knows her own mind,” Roshevuel said to THR on becoming the Queen. “The only advice I gave to (India) was, ‘Take it, make it your own.’”

“I think it’s a genre that has locked a lot of people out for a very, very long time, that now basically has opened the door and made a bigger space to represent the world that we’re living in,” she added. “And I think that is a testament to Shonda Rhimes.” 

As for what’s next in the series, a tight-lipped Rhimes could neither confirm nor deny anything about the anticipated season three of Bridgerton, which is set to focus on the relationship between Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington. However, Rhimes teased that filming has officially finished. 


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