‘Bridgerton’ stars Nicola Coughlan & Luke Newton on getting OUT of the friendzone

Nicola Coughlan & Luke Newton in Bridgerton
Nicola Coughlan & Luke Newton in Bridgerton

Dearest gentle readers, at long last a new steamy romance is coming to the Ton and our TV screens, and it has been two whole seasons in the making.

That’s right, after much delay, we are getting the Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) romance the show has been teasing for literal years. Needless to say, the pressure to live up to that level of expectations is high. And with Bridgerton returning later this week, the actors are well aware that this is a season fans have been waiting for. “You feel it. You process it. You put it out of your mind,” Coughlin tells PRIDE.

It’s not a brave front; well, not just a brave front that the actress is putting on in the face of a very devout and opinionated fandom. Rather, it’s something she’s had time to process and make peace with — as much as one can, anyway. “In the beginning, when we found out, it was scary; I didn’t feel ready but we still have most of season two to film, the majority of it, honestly [to prepare]. So there was time to think about it in that way,” she recalls.

Also easing Coughlin’s anxiety was her knowledge of just how exciting this season and all its many threads and plots are going to be. “That was really thrilling to us... we just genuinely had an incredible time filming. It was eight months of filming, it’s really arduous. It’s a labor of love. But it was so insanely rewarding and wonderful to share it with a friend.”

Watch PRIDE’s full interview with Nicola Coughlan & Luke Newton below.


'Bridgerton' Stars Nicola Coughlan & Luke Newton Talk About Their Epic Romance

On the subject of friendship, their characters have been friends from childhood, another complicating element for the would-be couple. Yes, that adds a layer of comfort and familiarity — but it also raises the stakes if the romance fizzles. “I think it’s so difficult, isn’t it,” ponders Newton to PRIDE. “It’s something that Colin and Pen explore in the series is whether you can bring up the courage to confess those feelings. It’s going to change your friendship or relationship no matter what happens.”

That’s something anyone who has tried to move a friendship out of that zone and into a romantic one can relate to — the fear of rejection and the impact on the relationship. But for Coughlin, the risk is worth the reward. “I actually think that if someone [wonders if they’re] in the friend zone, just ask because then you’ll know one way or the other, you might completely get your heart broken in the process,” she shrugs. “In an ideal world, it’s wonderful to be friends first, because you have skipped all of the posturing of the beginning of a relationship when you pretend that you like never go to the bathroom or you never have spots, your friends know all that stuff already. So I think it is like the best foundation for a relationship.”

Whether that proves to be true in the show remains to be seen — especially if one party is harboring a massive secret. But the Whistledown of it all aside, the truth is that Penelope and Colin have plenty to overcome and work through if they, like the previous Bridgerton couples, hope to get that Regency romance happy ending.

“We always find that there’s so many similarities between what the characters are going through and they just deal with them in completely different ways. That’s what is kind of the struggle of them coming together,” says Newton. “They really need to grow as individuals and become adults. I think it’s the first time that we’ve seen that in Bridgerton. We’re used to seeing these strong adult characters that have already found their way and it’s just about finding a love match. This is the first time that we’re seeing these two young adults trying to find their way in the world and particularly in society.”

“What ultimately brings them together,” he continues, “is just knowing each other down to the core.”

At the end of the day, Bridgerton is really about the celebration of love — and as new showrunner Jess Brownell revealed exclusively to PRIDE, that includes queer love. While Queen Charlotte gave fans a glimpse of what it looks like, we’re delighted to see how queer romance will show up in this series, and if it may even become a major storyline.

One person who can’t wait for fans to see it all pay out is Coughlin. “I’m desperate for it. I cannot wait. I think it will be so beautiful,” she gushes. “ I think the wonderful thing about Bridgerton is it’s an invented world that has never existed. It’s a Regency era London in which we wear all these mad bright colors, it’s really diverse, there’s like glitter eyeshadow. So I think there’s so much space there for queer love stories and I think all love stories deserve to be celebrated and I hope that in time we get a leading queer love story in this show.”

Newton is even more confident that queerness will get its day in the sun on the Ton. “I’m sure we will,” he reveals to PRIDE.

Oh yes, we like the sound of that and we can’t wait to see how it all plays out when Bridgerton season three premieres Thursday, May 16 on Netflix. Watch the trailer below.

Dear reader, this author must inquire…what is the primary force that guides us on our paths? Is it our minds, or our hearts?

Bridgerton Season 3 | Official Trailer | Netflix