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The actress, who is loved for her work on Derry Girls, takes on her next big role as Penelope Featherington in Netflix’s Period Play

Shortly before the lockdown, Nicola Coughlan was filming Bridgerton in Britain’s historic mansion, wrapping herself in the garishly colored Regency-era clothes forced upon her character Penelope Featherington and tiptoeing around the very real heirlooms of the sets (“You spend a lot of time if you don’t film like this, ‘Don’t touch that painting, it’s 800 years old’ ”) Six months later, when fans finally got their first glimpse into the show’s opulent world, Coughlan himself was in a better known one

“I was at home with my mom in Ireland,” the actress told me in late November. “So I still have to do all the shopping. I had to paint and vacuum her bedroom” (Hoovering is more British according to the internet Slang for vacuuming. Apparently the Irish use it too) Her mother’s bedroom, laughs Coughlan, has changed dramatically: from blue to another shade of blue “It took me three days and I’m little I’m like 5’1” So the ceiling was stained; we had to get someone to do the ceiling but I did the rest of the walls ”


If not the kind of job the wealthy Penelope Featherington was struggling with, the effort to paint the higher areas of a wall feels like a brand to the actress’s other beloved character: the lovably neurotic Clare Devlin , one of Derry’s titled girls’ teenagers after debuting in the UK and subsequently Netflix arc in 2018, the show turned into a surprise hit, it turns out that the highly specific, warm and hilarious portrayal of growing up in Northern Ireland amid the troubles in America and Ireland It can also be translated well “You get messages from people in Pakistan, people in Kuwait, and people around the world saying,” That reminded me of how I grew up, “says Coughlan Nothing, not even an international violent one Conflict, can prevent the rampage of hormones

The magic of Derry Girls lies in their perfect performances, but even in such a talented group, Coughlan is a standout player.The actress manifests Clare’s nerves and occasional emotional outbursts with empathy and brilliant comedic timing

Coughlan’s so good, in fact, that when queer eye star and general icon Jonathan Van Ness saw her in a sweatshirt with a face printed on it, they exclaimed, “I’ve never seen anyone wear a shirt with my face And then I was a big Derry Girls fan too, so I just thought, “I can’t take it, it’s too surreal, Van Ness and Coughlan are close friends now in February Van Ness flew from LEIN to the UK to surprise her at her birthday party – kind of “I told her early,” Van Ness admits. “I just get too excited and can’t handle it” (The party lived up to the expectations Van Ness they met the British bake-off winner Briony May Williams and had so much fun that they haven’t been able to drink Prosecco since)

Derry Girls also helped the actress play a role on Netflix’s Bridgerton, produced by Shonda Rhimes, a new show based on a popular series of romance novels by Julia Quinn, showrunner Chris Van Dusen, an avowed Derry Girls fan , saw Coughlan’s audition tape for another part of the show – that of Penelope’s best friend, Eloise Bridgerton, he thinks – and then and there made the decision to win Coughlan. “The moment it came on screen, we knew immediately that we found our Penelope, “he says

Like Clare, Penelope is an insecure teenager (albeit with a very different temperament), and Coughlan again manages to humanize an era that is often historicized beyond recognition. “Our historical advisor showed us pictures of young women who lounging properly on couches and getting their feet up. They really blew me away at first, ”she says. It just didn’t go with the low-key, pinpoint-loving Jane Austen women she was used to seeing – but Bridgerton isn’t your grandmother’s drama The cast is refreshingly diverse at all grades, right down to an imperious Queen Charlotte played by the Guyana-born black Golda Rosheuvel (many historians believe Charlotte was of African descent) and though flirtations begin with a meaningful look or a touch of the glove , The characters don’t stop here For a show so few young women know about en how sex works – for Coughlans Penelope and Eloise Bridgerton (played by Claudia Jessie), the cause of pregnancy is a mystery that is never entirely cleared – there’s a whole lot of sex, it’s a Regency-era romance, that only Shondaland can create

A long-time fan of Rhimes, Coughlan found much-needed inspiration in the TV legend’s book, The Year of Yes When She Fought, Was Jobless, and Lived with Her Parents, “To Be Part Of This World.” – what Shonda did for television to portray women, difficult women, unlikely women, complicated women, in terms of diversity, in terms of portraying LGBTQ characters and stories – is a dream, “says Coughlan

But that is to say, Coughlan has never hunted fame and finds it strange that anyone would. From the start, she’s made a goal of cutting off parts of her life that are not for public consumption and her friends and family strictly protected Sometimes “you just want to wrap them in cotton wool” and protect them from overzealous selfie seekers, she says

It helps that she entered the industry at a (relatively) late stage, as fully educated adults rather than formidable teens, despite landing her first acting job at nine – as the uncredited Little Girl Feeding Swans “in a James Brolin-directed film that was shot in her hometown of Galway – Coughlan’s big break would be two more decades

After graduating from drama school, she moved to London with “Walter Mitty Ideas” and struggled when reality didn’t keep up with her dreams. In the end, she moved back home but couldn’t find it in herself that Giving up acting: “It felt like it was in my bones and it kept me going” To make ends meet, “she” did any job under the sun “working as a waitress, receptionist and the person who Optometry patient notifies that they are due for an eye test

It’s those years of nondescript work that Coughlan attributes to her down-to-earth demeanor. “When I’m on set and I’m being driven there and people bring me food, you have to know it’s not everyday,” she says, adding that she is always aware that she is treating them with respect around her “I am shocked when I hear stories about diva actors” Television is a team effort, she explains: “It’s not just about you” (she is happy, however to share the experience with others; Van Ness notices they visited on the Bridgerton set)

Given Coughlan’s attitude, it comes as no shock when her Bridgerton employees say she is a pleasure to work with After Van Dusen says she is “very focused” and “very thoughtful” that she is “a riot” and that a cast and crew laugh between takes. “Jessie says that filming with her” didn’t really feel like work, “adds,” The wonderful thing about her is that she so excited to be on set and so excited to be there ”

Glad to play Penelope Featherington – who, as it turns out, approaches the boundary between public and private in a very different way than Coughlan. As the season finale shows, Penelope is behind the infamous gossip “Lady Whistledown” and is personally responsible for To reveal the best-kept secrets of high society The actress affirms that for those who take the time to re-view, and for viewers who have already read the novels, the title will be displayed No “10 times it made no sense that Dan Gossip Girl was “writing here” There would be certain things that the director would say, ‘We want you to stand here and do this’ and I would be like,’ I can’t, because I’m writing in my column, that they meet at this point “If you go back you will see me in some scenes like” Where’s Waldo? “See,” says Coughlan

Van Dusen ascribes the planting of the Easter eggs to her “It was one of Nicolas’ ideas to be spread in the background of these larger scenes in the earlier episodes,” he says thanks to her during the first meeting of Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset: ” If you look closely, you can see Penelope’s eyes there in the corner of the screen ”

Playing Whistledown’s alter ego brings another, somewhat unexpected benefit: the inimitable Julie Andrews voices the counterpart of your character.When Coughlan found out Andrews was playing Whistledown and read Penelope’s pseudonymous writings in voice-over, she cried While she didn’t get a chance to speak to Andrews – or at least not at the time of our interview – Coughlan was determined to connect, “I wonder, ‘Maybe she knows who I am, maybe she saw a picture of me, maybe she has watched “And it’s stupid because she’s the voice on the show“So she knows who’s inside. But I don’t know. It’s Julie Andrews!” She exclaims “It’s a bit overwhelming”

Although some might be surprised that releases like Whistledown’s in the early 19th Circulated in the 19th century, Coughlan wasn’t – and not just because gossip papers pop up on her other historic show, Harlots. “It shows you how long you’ve been hungry for gossip,” she says

Being on the other side as a public figure made her realize how strange celebrity culture really is. “Sometimes when I see a paparazzi picture of an actor I know, I say, ‘Oh ‘It’s so weird’ because I just looked at her in the past and never really thought about it, ”she says,“ And you think, ‘Oh no, everyone is a real person Oh dear God ”I would be ashamed if someone would take a picture of me buying milk at the corner store ”

Part of the struggle is losing control of your own narrative Once seen in public, the world’s whistledowns – or journalists like me – have to write and when Coughlan tries to push it back it only partially works

After a critic described her performance as Joyce Emily in a 2018 production of The Prime by Miss Jean Brodie as “the kind of obese little girl who will always become the butt of her companions’ immature humor”, the Actress back I want an apology from posting it on Twitter. She got the apology – but also accidentally became something of a body positivity advocate, which was never her intention. “There are incredible body positivity activists online, and they are really vocal and unbelievable, but that is not me, ”she says,“ People who try to take responsibility for their bodies feel really uncomfortable. And often it’s not meant badly, but I think it’s not what defines me ”Like Coughlan shortly after the refresher of Twitter in the Guardian wrote, the praise for her perceived body positivity paradoxically had an effect similar to that critic’s heinous words: “The focus was on me, not my actions”

If Coughlan had been able to write her own story, she might not have mentioned this ordeal at all. And if she did, she would certainly have done it differently – only she can have her own experiences from a place of authority articulate out the rest is just gossip

Fortunately for Coughlan, the gossip about her is mostly positive, even bubbly. “She’s just so much fun,” emphasizes Van Ness “And I love her sister, her childhood best friends, her mother I just love being with her I love meeting her friends Maybe Ireland is like Midwestern Europe because everyone is so nice”

beauty? Childhood best friends? Try turning it into a Daily Mail headline. Lady Whistledown is shaking in her boots

Nicola Coughlan

World News – UK – Nicola Coughlan speaks about Bridgerton’s big reveal

Source: https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/a35016601/nicola-coughlan-bridgerton-lady-whistledown-interview/