Example content

‘Bridgerton’ star Simone Ashley on being a ‘flawed’ heroine, setting an example for other women

When Simone Ashley first learned that the second season of “Bridgerton” had broken Netflix’s one-week record for most-watched English-language series, she initially had a moment of blissful disbelief that so many of viewers connected to her character Kate Sharma.

“It means so much to me that people respond to him. She is not the typical heroine. I think she’s a beautifully flawed, self-realized character,” Ashley told NBC Asian America. “And that’s the kind of heroine I wanted to project out into the world for other women to see.”

Ever since “Bridgerton” introduced viewers to Indian half-sisters Kate and Edwina Sharma last month, fans have been abuzz about strong lead performances from Ashley and Charithra Chandran (who plays Edwina) and touchstones. South Asian cultures scattered throughout the eight episodes of the season. .

Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Rupert Young as Jack in

Loosely based on Julia Quinn’s 2000 novel “The Viscount Who Loved Me”, the new season tells the story of Kate Sharma, an independent young woman who is determined to launch her beautiful and charming half-sister Edwina into society. . But when the sisters meet Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), Kate’s carefully orchestrated plan begins to unravel – and she and the Viscount grow closer and closer.

Kate “doesn’t have it easy. She’s not the rookie of the season — she’s not that diamond that can catch all these suitors,” Ashley said. “She really gets behind and puts others first. And she constantly has this battle between duty and heart. I’m just glad people support her. »

Like the first season of “Bridgerton” in 2021, the new episodes center a multicultural cast and take a somewhat blind approach to the original source material, with the show changing Kate’s original surname from Sheffield to Sharma and noting that the Sharma’s late father was working for an Indian royal.

While both seasons have generated a lot of discussion among viewers and online about the show’s casting decisions, Hollywood and the UK entertainment industry have slowly started casting actors of color in historical dramas in recent years. , with Dev Patel starring in 2020’s ‘The Personal’ History of David Copperfield’ and the BBC’s 2019 adaptation of ‘Les Miserables’, starring David Oyelowo and Adeel Akhtar, as two prominent examples. But despite those small wins, being asked to read for a historical drama can still be a rare occurrence for actors of color.

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in

“It was my first time doing a period romance,” Ashley said. “It all happened so quickly, getting the part and suddenly being on set, so I was very engrossed in bringing this character to life.

Ashley vividly remembers the moment she saw herself and Chandran in character on set and the emotions that were stirred. “It was only when I started seeing the monitors and shots of me and Charithra on screen and it was two dark skinned Indian women, two Tamil women on screen,” he said. she declared. “That’s when I was like, ‘Whoa, this is happening. “”

This moment was particularly poignant given the role costume dramas have played in British pop culture for decades. “I used to watch ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and similar period dramas,” Ashley recalled. “But I never really imagined myself being in one, let alone one like ‘Bridgerton,’ set in 19th century London.”

Being cast as Edwina was also particularly poignant for Ashley’s co-star Chandran due to her family’s love of historical dramas. “My mom loves them. Colin Firth’s pride and prejudice was one of the first things she connected with when she emigrated to the UK,” said Chandran, whose parents were both born in the state. from Tamil Nadu in southern India. “She passed that love on to me, it really is a dream come true.”

Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma, Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in

Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma, Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in

Kate and Edwina’s story as two young women new to London was equally personal and immediate. “The problem with the Sharmas is that they are immigrants. They are from India,” Chandran noted. “They’re not just brown. They come from a different culture. So it was wonderful to be able to reflect that in some of the things the sisters do together.

Ashley and Chandran also say they drew on their own family relationships to portray the strong brotherly bond between Kate and Edwina. “I have a lot of cousins ​​that I’m very close to and in general I would say my family is very matriarchal,” Chandran said. “So it was pretty easy to get into that world.”

Ashley also focused on her family connections and her instant bond with the co-star who plays her half-sister. ” I do not have sisters. But I am very close to my own mother. And with Charithra, it’s hard not to fall in love with her and want to be there for her. She has such incredible energy,” Ashley said. “As far as we talk about the relationship between Kate and Anthony, for me one of the deepest love stories was her relationship with Edwina and how it grows and changes.”

Source link