DEFINITION February 2022 – Web


DOP Philipp Blaubach reveals everything you need to know about the cinematography on Netflix’s most salacious regency drama, Bridgerton Talk of the ton

WORDS. Chelsea Fearnley

W hile Regé-Jean Page’s departure crushed the hearts of fans who fell for his charming portrayal of Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, it fits the structure of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton book series. However, in Season 2 we still follow the gossip-ridden world of upper-echelon London that viewers came to love – all with the added intrigue created by the anonymous author (for the ton at least), Lady Whistledown. Each of Quinn’s instalments focuses on one of the eight Bridgerton children, creating an anthology that will, in turn, fundamentally change each season. Therefore, it’s important not to get too attached to the good-looking leads (although they often appear as secondary characters, so we hope Page will return). For Season 2, our eyes turn to Viscount Anthony Bridgerton and his quest for love – introducing a new family to this reimagined regency. “In the book, they’re the Sheffields – but, continuing the show’s diverse and inclusive portrayal of 19th-century Britain, they’re called the Sharmas and are of British-Indian heritage,” explains Philipp Blaubach, who co-shoots with DOP Jeffrey Jur. Since the writers’ room is stacked with a diverse team, including executive producer Shonda Rhimes, there have been fewer barriers in adding a more complex and interesting spin on Quinn’s literature. And while this colour-conscious casting was ultimately a creative decision, it no doubt stems from Netflix’s pledge to support diverse showrunners on its original series, with Mindy Kaling for

Never Have I Ever ; and Justin Simien and Yvette Lee Bowser for Dear White People . “It’s exciting and contemporary,” says Blaubach. “Yet, the setting, costumes and language still appear as if lifted from a Jane Austen novel. It’s just the attitudes that have changed, which I think is why the show is so popular; because more people can relate to it.” Departing from the homogeneous casting of most period dramas, Bridgerton also portrays the strength of women at a time that bolstered male ambition. The female characters are outspoken and feminist. In Season 1, Eloise Bridgerton regularly denounces the patriarchy and institution of marriage – and her sister Daphne even sucker-punched an unwanted suitor. Season 2 promises more of this. “One of my favourite scenes comes when we see Kate Sharma question Anthony’s rebuttal to her accompanying him on a hunt. She asks if it’s because she’s a woman, and he responds curtly: ‘Women don’t hunt.’ I like it, since it shows how things were in that era, but with women able to stand their ground.” SHOOTING THE STEAMY Bridgerton doesn’t just have a contemporary take on dialogue. Blaubach uses Arri Signature Primes to create a wide, but intimate window into the lives of London’s Mayfair elite. He explains: “It’s a modern way of shooting – the images are sharp, clean and vibrant. I also try to be closer in on wider lenses, especially in the full-frame format. But it’s not always easy, especially when you


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