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Feb 11, 2024
All Eyes Are On Phoebe Dynevor

The Bridgerton breakout now has a BAFTA nomination for her punchy part in Netflix hit Fair Play. Lottie Lumsden meets a star on the rise.

My mum will be desperate for me to call her after this,’ smiles Phoebe Dynevor. We’re tucked away in a side room at The Savoy Hotel in London just an hour after she was announced as one of the 2024 EE BAFTA Rising Star nominees at a press conference. It is in recognition of her 2023 role in Netflix’s thriller Fair Play. ‘She gets very excited about stuff like this. It means a lot.’

Dynevor’s mother is of course the Coronation Street actress Sally Dynevor. And it’s no wonder she’s proud of her daughter, given what she’s already achieved aged just 28. Dynevor is perhaps best known for her role as Daphne in the Netflix series, Bridgerton. Her storyline with Regé-Jean Page, was one of the things that got us all through the second Lockdown in 2020. Who can forget that spoon scene?

But Dynevor was acting long before, since she was at school and her first role was age 14 in BBC TV drama Waterloo Road. Since then, she’s had roles in everything from Dickensian, to the The Colour Room as well as a guest appearance in Ten Percent, the British TV series based on the French Call My Agent.`

But it is her role in Fair Play opposite Alden Ehnreneich, about an American couple whose relationship begins to unravel when one of them is promoted at a hedge fund firm, that has caught both critics’ and the world’s attention. The film, directed by Chloe Domont, got such an incredible reaction at last year’s Sundance Festival in Utah, that it launched a huge bidding war, with Netflix reportedly buying it for $20 million. ‘Being in that premiere and seeing people’s reactions was so special,’ says Dynevor. ‘People were gasping and saying, ‘Go girl!’ Alden turned to me and said, ‘let’s enjoy this moment because it doesn’t happen very often.’

Eight things you need to know about Phoebe Dynevor…

She has been acting since she was 11

‘I didn’t get success overnight. It seems that way with Bridgerton but it’s been a really long journey to get here and that’s what makes the BAFTA nomination all the more gratifying. I did drama at school and auditioned for a film, The Golden Compass, when I was 11. I didn’t get the role, but I enjoyed the experience and wanted to keep going. My second audition was for a BBC drama TV series called Waterloo Road, and I got that.’

Yes, her family are in the industry

‘I grew up outside of Manchester. My grandma was an actress, as well as my dad (actor and screenwriter Tim Dynevor) and my mum. So, I’ve been surrounded by creativity from day one. When I was younger, we would go on set (of Coronation Street) a lot, and I got used to seeing people from TV come to our house. I was in awe of it all and loved seeing the family that people built on set and how everyone worked in very different jobs to create something. My mum’s best advice has been to just enjoy it all. There was a certain point with Bridgerton where I was over-analysing everything and my mum told me to just embrace it all, and not to be terrified of it.’

Landing the role of Bridgerton’s Daphne changed her life

‘I was living in LA and had been working on a show called Younger when I was offered Bridgerton. I did a tape and thought nothing of it. Then months later I was asked to do a chemistry read with Regé-Jean Page. I got a call back the next day and went to meet Shonda Rhimes. I was the last person to be cast. The whole experience was such a dream and the best time in my life. Johnny Bailey is amazing and we stay in touch. And Simone Ashley. It’s fun seeing what everyone is doing post Bridgerton. [When I got my pay cheque] I bought a bed. I wanted to buy the comfiest bed in the world. And I have since bought a house, I’m very grateful for that.’

Filming Fair Play pushed her to her limits

‘We shot Fair Play over two months in Belgrade in January. It was pretty miserable. But that added to the intensity of it. Alden Ehnrenreich and I had a week to get comfortable with the scenes, dialogue and the intimacy coordinators, which was really important. I have previously had the experience of working without an intimacy coordinator, and they are a game changer. As a young woman, it’s important to have someone there on your side, protecting you. I see them as a stunt or dance coordinator, they are the same thing. The film is something I’m really proud of. It was a dream role and dream director. When I read the script I was in awe of the fact that it’s such a female story and experience. I immediately saw my character Emily in so many of my friends, and myself. But I definitely struggled with the intensity of shooting something like that, and I needed a lot of time afterwards to decompress.’

Saoirse Ronan is a fan

‘Recently I was approached by Saoirse Ronan and Julia Garner at the 2023 Academy Museum Gala in Los Angeles. They said they had seen Fair Play and I’m such a fan of them both. I have been in awe of Saoirse for so many years and the fact that she had watched me was gratifying. She has been through it all and knows the drill. We had actually met before – I’m good friends with Daisy Edgar-Jones and the three of us had previously been to a Florence & The Machine concert and she invited us backstage. I was like, ‘pinch me!’

Awards shows give her anxiety

‘I find awards shows terrifying – imposter syndrome is a real thing! They’re really scary but also very exciting because you’re in a room full of incredible people. I’m already planning my outfit for the BAFTAs. I work with Louis Vuitton and I have two dresses to choose from. I’ll take my mum as my plus one. I want to be present and soak it all up because that moment will never happen again. I’m the type of person who doesn’t believe that I’ll win so I probably won’t write a speech and then I’ll have to wing it.’

But she feels most comfortable in a tracksuit

‘Before I signed with Louis Vuitton I didn’t know much about fashion but they have opened up a whole new world to me. It’s such a lovely community to be a part of and their shows are like watching theatre. It’s all about making women feel empowered and strong. Day to day I’m very low key though. I’m happiest at home in my tracksuit and I never leave my neighbourhood in North London. I have my little coffee place that I go to everyday and I read. I’m a real hermit!’

It’s important for her to work with more female directors

‘Greta Gerwig would be a huge dream for me to work with, as well as Sarah Polley and Chloé Zhao. And there are so many actresses I’m in awe of, like Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet and Julianne Moore. In the near future I have a film coming out called Anniversary, about the crumbling of a family, and I play the antagonist of that demise. It was fun because I normally play the protagonist! It’s a big ensemble cast with Zoey Deutch and Diane Lane and we had a blast filming it in Dublin. Then there is Inheritance which I can’t say a lot about. But I’ve got a crazy haircut in it that took me a long time to grow out!’ [Source]

Tags: Interviews

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