Nicola Coughlan is being hailed as the breakout star of Netflix’s new period drama, Bridgerton.
Especially after that big reveal that her character, Penelope Featherington, was actually Lady Whistledown – a Regency-era Gossip Girl who was spilling all the gossip in her London paper.
Speaking with Variety, Nicola revealed just how she found out Penelope was Whistledown – and it wasn’t from reading the books.
“When I went for the first audition, I only had a couple of days to prepare; I didn’t have time to read the books or do anything like that. I just thought, ‘I’ll give this a go and if I get a second call, then I’ll read everything,’” Nicola shared. “But that didn’t happen, I just got the job.”
She adds that she had to catch up real quick with the series that took over Netflix during the holidays.
While she did pick up the novel series from Julia Quinn, Nicola also “went to a lot of the fan forums online, because these books have been out for 20 years.”
“People adore them and have such a connection to them. Penelope is really close to their hearts. It was on a forum that I realized she was Lady Whistledown. When I saw it, I thought, ‘No, no, no, no, that can’t be right.’”
Nicola continued, “I kept re-reading it, because it didn’t make sense: [I’m] being given this amazing role in a Shondaland-Netflix show, and it’s that role. It’s quite mind-blowing.”
She also spoke about that super secret ending scene for her reveal as Lady Whistledown.
“It was so much fun. We had to film that in the middle of COVID. I had to be super, super secret,” Nicola says. “I had to be flown over from Ireland, and tested and tested and tested, and do the fitting. It was hyper secret; I couldn’t let anyone know I was there or what was going on. But it was so much fun to film that.”
Bridgerton is streaming now on Netflix.
If you haven’t read it, check out these spoilers on what season two might be about…
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