‘Bridgerton’: Luke Newton Talks Polin’s Steamy Carriage Scene & Teases What’s To Come In Season 3, Part 2

SPOILER ALERT! This post contains details from Season 3, Part 1 of Bridgerton.

Dearest gentle readers, the time has come for more Bridgerton.

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Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) finally take center stage in Season 3 of the Netflix series. Fans have been chomping at the bit to see Polin’s love story unfold on screen, and this season does not disappoint.

But, of course, Polin isn’t the only source of drama this season. Things are still quite tense between Eloise (Claudia Jessie) and Penelope after the former discovered that the latter is in fact Lady Whistledown. Considering some of the less-than-favorable comments Whistledown has made about the Bridgerton family, and even Eloise herself, it appears it’s going to be near impossible for Penelope to get Eloise’s forgiveness.

Then there’s the question of what will happen when Colin inevitably finds out this secret as well? Will all of Penelope’s dreams of marriage to the third eldest Bridgerton sibling come crashing down?

“I could never have predicted the obstacles that would come in the way,” Newton teases about what’s to come.

Only four episodes are currently available as Part 2 will wrap up the story with four more episodes on June 13. Viewers are left with a cliffhanger though, after Colin decides to act on his growing attraction to Penelope with a steamy scene in a carriage after a ball. Colin is wasting no more time making Penelope his lady, it seems.

Newton spoke with Deadline about crafting Polin’s love story, leaving audiences on such a cliffhanger, and what to expect from the remainder of Season 3.

Luke Newton, Nicola Coughlan, ‘Bridgerton’
Luke Newton, Nicola Coughlan, ‘Bridgerton’

DEADLINE: You’d been playing Colin for two seasons, but the leading role is quite the undertaking. How was that to pick up the mantle from Jonathan Bailey?

LUKE NEWTON: It was kind of a wild experience. I was told early on during Season 2, so to be able to live through that experience and watch the way that Jonathan Bailey navigated his way through the lead of last season just really benefited me, because I could make a mental note and a plan in my head of how I was going to do it. Other than that, I was just really excited. I think it’s the opportunity that I’ve always wanted. Since I started in the industry at like 17 years old, I’d always wanted to lead a show. I never thought I’d get the [opportunity] to lead something to this scale. It’s just off the charts. I was mainly excited, obviously slightly nervous at times, but it was nice to know that Nic [Coughlan] and I were in it together. We both had a shared experience already leading up to it and continued that.

DEADLINE: Right, you’d been working together since Season 1. But how was it different to step into the spotlight with Nicola and have Colin and Penelope’s love story at the forefront?

NEWTON: The writing was so detailed. From the very first meeting that we see these two characters, there’s an instant spark between them. The writing team did such an amazing job in creating that slow burn between them. So it felt like the natural progression. It didn’t ever feel like we had to make a conscious effort to jump to something completely different. It felt like the script just flowed in a way that made it feel really natural.

When we first first met on Season 1, we knew that there’d be a possibility that we get to this point. But yet reading the scripts, I guess, was kind of a crazy moment for both of us, because we didn’t know how they would write this beautiful love story that is inspired by the books. I’m just so happy with every twist and turn that they threw at us. It feels like it’s a really special season for everyone involved.

DEADLINE: You’ve both spoken about how comfortable you were on set together. Was that something you had to curate this season, or did you feel as though you were already connected in that way?

NEWTON: It’s strange, because we often get asked that, but there was never anything that we did to bring that to life. It was just the shared experiences. We’ve now been friends for five years. There’s always been big support for this couple, for Colin and Pen. Fans have been eagerly awaiting their love story to blossom, and I think we were super aware of that. So probably without even realizing, we just worked on our on-screen chemistry. I think what’s beautiful about the season that they are two characters that you wouldn’t normally see as the lead in a romance drama. They’re kind of like the underdogs. They aren’t taken seriously. I think it’s a really beautiful thing to see those kinds of characters center stage. The excitement between the two of us just meant that we just brought it to the screen and it connected us in a way that chemistry just flowed from that.

DEADLINE: Part 1 ends with the carriage scene…I knew from the moment I saw it that it would be a pivotal scene for fans. What was that like to shoot?

NEWTON: That scene encapsulates everything. If you had to showcase Bridgerton as a whole, you could share that one scene and it explores everything that we cover. It explores friendship, romance, it’s sexy, it’s exposing…there’s moments where they feel insecure. There’s also those moments of relief, where there’s comedy, where they just start to giggle together. So we really wanted to hit every beat. It’s only a five minute scene. So it felt like quite a task to hit all those beats within a small amount of time.

Also, the added pressure that it had been a fan favorite scene. Since we started the show, we were always aware of the carriage scene. It was kind of always in the back of our mind. So when we got to read it on the page, we were really excited but nervous. Every department was aware of it. On set, it was just like a different energy where everyone was ready to deliver the scene in the best possible way. We did multiple versions, maybe five or six different versions of how we play the scene out and then just left it up to the edit. That was a really freeing process of just let’s cover all bases here and whatever works within the story…it just felt really appropriate. I feel like it’s written so perfectly that we finish the end of Part 1 at that point, because it feels like a moment of relief and contentment, but actually there’s the underlying story of Whistledown.

DEADLINE: You’ve seen the final edit, I presume. How did you feel seeing which version was chosen?

NEWTON: I’m really happy. Playing this character for, in total like five years now, including prep, it feels like a milestone for my character. Finally, realizing his feelings and being honest about that and opening up and feeling slightly exposed and trying to put himself out there in that moment. It’s a moment of relief for Penelope, because she’s had these feelings towards him ever since we’ve known them. I think watching it back, I was just super proud of it. It feels so appropriate to their love story. They’re not these stoic romantic leads that we’ve seen in Regency dramas throughout the years. That last line when he just says, ‘For God’s sake, are you going to marry me or not?’ It just felt so perfect for them.

Bridgerton. (L to R) Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 302 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Bridgerton. (L to R) Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 302 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

DEADLINE: I’m glad you mentioned Whistledown. She’s obviously a huge element to this season, and the reason Penelope and Eloise are on such bad terms. Colin hasn’t quite figured out what’s going on yet, but I think it’s fair to say he can sense something is off.

NEWTON: I think he’s growing up. We see a different version of Colin that where he’s stepping into adulthood. Previously, he’s always been distracted and clouded by his emotions and his passion for finding a purpose in life. He’s really now sort of starting to come into his own, so he’s now super aware of everything that’s around him. He’s aware the friendship’s sort of been ruined between Eloise and Penelope. Something is wrong, but he just can’t quite put his finger on it.

We continue to explore that and dive into that in Part 2. It becomes the main focus of the story, and I think that’s something that fans will really like. The gossip of that is one of the most fascinating things about the show and what keeps the pace of it and the drive of the story running. It’s a really exciting chapter to step into. I always think of it as like a ringing in your ear. It’s constantly there, no matter how content they feel. We’ve still got drama to come.

DEADLINE: For Colin, he’s stuck between two people he really cares about. How did you navigate that as an actor, how Colin might handle the relationship with his sister while growing closer to Penelope?

NEWTON: I think it was really interesting this year to explore how close Colin and Eloise actually are. I think in previous seasons, they kind of banter with each other and they showed their love in ways [that are] almost like playground. Like, how they would pick on each other as a sign of affection. This season, we really get to see how close they are and how much they care for each other. Particularly with Eloise trying to protect Colin from finding out and sheltering him from that. I really love that storyline, and it feels really important to me particularly now. I’m very close with Claudia [Jessie]. We’ve had a shared experience on this show where we love the same things. We love being on set. We love the craft. We love acting. We talked, even I think a couple days ago, to be like, ‘We can’t wait to get back on set together.’

I think exploring those new relationships was something that I love to see, because I hadn’t got to previously. I was close with the Bridgerton brothers in previous seasons. So that’s one thing about the show is that I’m constantly learning about my character and each season gives me something new. I’m sure that will continue into future seasons. I’ll learn something new about Colin next season that I maybe didn’t know from previously. It kind of resembles life. I’ve had these discussions with Luke Thompson, who plays my brother. When we shoot, we only get two episodes at a time. We kind of like that, because in life no one knows what the future holds. You don’t need to play something that’s going to happen in Episode 8 in Episode 1, because no one knows what’s going to happen in the future. So it’s kind of nice to be present and focused on those two [episodes] at a time.

DEADLINE: There seems to be a lot coming in Part 2. What can you tease?

NEWTON: Whistledown’s secret comes to the forefront of the story. Colin had been so tortured through Part 1, where he had a lot going on and he felt like he was losing control of the situation and needed to sort of up his game to be able to get what he wanted. I think it’s really nice to play that moment of contentment, where he’s just giddy and happy, but all I can say, I guess, is that it’s very short lived.

I could never have predicted the obstacles that would come in the way. And we’ve really explored a new power dynamic between the two. We’ve lived in this place where Penelope has put Colin on a pedestal and always looked up to him and admired him and been infatuated by him for years. And now, we’ve kind of flipped that already and he’s been sort of chasing her, but then we totally see a shift in their position in society and how he learns to become a modern man. She helps him find contentment in just being who he is rather than trying to have to live up to the reputation of his siblings or what society thinks he should be.

DEADLINE: I am really looking forward to those last few episodes.

NEWTON: There’s so much that happens in seven and eight.I was like, ‘There’s no way that that fits into two hours.’ But the pace of the show is so quick this season, I guess because we haven’t had to establish the show or introduce new families or characters as much as previous seasons. So we really get to hit the ground running. I feel like it’s just jam packed with so much story. Hopefully that continues, and it sets up future seasons. I think it’s just been so brilliantly done this year.

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