It was one thing playing the smart yet skittish Clare Devlin in the Northern Irish comedy Derry Girls, but Nicola Coughlan’s turn as the quiet Penelope Featherington in the Netflix smash Bridgerton last year was what propelled the Irish actress to true stardom. The modern take on Regency-era romance—an adaptation of Julia Quinn’s period novels—has been renewed for a second season, meaning Coughlan and her red wig will be returning in lace-trimmed style once more.
What first drew you to Bridgerton?
When you hear that [TV production company founded by producer Shonda Rhimes] Shondaland is making a show with Netflix, you can’t not be excited by it. I had actually never read the books; I got the part after the first audition, so I had very little time to process it all. When I read them, it was amazing because they gave me so many clues on how to play Penelope. The [Bridgerton] women are so forwardthinking, which drew me to the script. Because it didn’t read like a period drama—it didn’t feel dusty. The characters felt very alive.
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