Don’t tell Lady Whistledown! Bridgerton star Ruby Barker didn’t want to gather her family members around the TV to watch the Netflix drama’s steamy love scenes.
“Oh God, no,” the 24-year-old actress teased in an interview with The Daily Mail on Monday, February 1, following the series’ record-breaking success and renewal for a second season. “I don’t watch it with my family. I don’t need to look at Rege [Jean Page]‘s bottom with my dad! I’m perfectly fine watching it on my own.”
While she might not have joined them for their binge-watching session, some of Barker’s relatives have enjoyed the Shondaland series from afar. “My sisters watched it and my grandad in the [United] States has watched it, as well,” she told the outlet.
Barker portrays Marina Thompson, a distant cousin of the Featherington family, who is sent to live with them in London to get her first taste of Regency-era high society. For the Wolfblood alum, Bridgerton‘s colorblind casting provided a unique opportunity to see herself represented on-screen.
“I’d seen Belle, the film about Dido Elizabeth Belle, who was a mixed-race aristocrat in the Georgian period of time. I saw that film and was like, ‘Wow, it would be so amazing to play that character but it’s already been made, I’m probably not gonna be in a period drama simply because of my race,’” Barker said on Monday. “Then obviously, getting the casting [information] through from Bridgerton and seeing it’s a Shonda Rhimes thing, you know, and that diversity is the main objective of the show — it was just amazing to be a part of it.”
Critics of the Netflix series, which has now reached more than 80 million households, have questioned whether the diverse characters accurately portray the time period in which it’s set. However, Page, 31, hopes the casting choice will set an important precedent within the genre.
“I think it’s great to include people in our storytelling in the 21st century,” he told CBS This Morning in December 2020. “I think we have a very long and sad tradition of excluding people from stories, excluding people from history — literally painting people out of historical pictures and documents. So, it’s the very least we can do to start painting people back in.”
Page and Barker both firmly believe in Bridgerton‘s commitment to diversity and have no doubts that this show will be a game-changer for them both. The How to Stop a Recurring Dream actress was all-in from the moment she knew she’d earned the role of Marina.
“I was actually at another audition for Sex Education, just for a small role, and I got a phone call from my agent,” Barker told The Daily Mail. “And she was like, ‘Oh, my God you’ve landed Bridgerton,’ and all of a sudden I didn’t care anymore whether I got [Sex Education]. … I was like, ‘I’ll just leave.’ I did the casting anyway, but I thought, ‘Who cares, I’ve got this job.’ The best role of the year.”
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