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Luke Newton has a whole backstory for Colin in ‘Bridgerton’ season 3 that’ll change how you watch

Luke Newton has a whole backstory for Colin in ‘Bridgerton’ season 3 that’ll change how you watch

The actor shares the backstory for Colin Bridgerton that’ll change how you watch the season and more.

Fans wanting to see Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) in Bridgerton season 3 might be surprised to learn that when Newton first got the scripts, his initial thought was: How complicated can this story be?

“Penelope has been infatuated by Colin ever since the start of season one,” he explains to Glamour over Zoom. “So in my head, there was a clear path: All he needs to do is see what’s been right in front of him all this time, and they’ll live happily ever after.”

Of course, this is Bridgerton. It can’t be that easy. “Jess Brownell, our showrunner, has done such an incredible job of putting every obstacle you can think of in the way,” Newton says.

Luke Newton has a whole backstory for Colin in ‘Bridgerton’ season 3 that’ll change how you watch

Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton and Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington.LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

Some of those obstacles include: another potential suitor for Penelope, the fact that she overhead Colin say he’d “never” court her, and oh, just the looming threat of her identity as Lady Whistledown being revealed. “Even if there was no drama throughout the whole season, the Whistledown thing is enough to make or break anything,” Newton says.

No spoilers here, but you’ll have to wait until the second half of Bridgerton season 3 drops on June 13 to see how that particular drama plays out. (The first set premieres on May 16.) There’s plenty to keep you entertained in the meantime—especially Newton’s glow-up to leading man status.

This season (and the press tour that’s accompanied it) has been a pivotal career moment for the actor. And with charm like his, it’s clear we’ll be talking about Luke Newton way beyond Bridgerton season 3. Below, we caught up with the actor learn more about his dreams once his time with Colin Bridgerton comes to an end, where the character’s newfound BDE is coming from, the fun backstory dreamed up on set, and more.

Glamour: When I interviewed you last season, I asked where you’d like to see Colin in the future. You said, “A ball where he feels great, he feels confident, and he’s found himself a bit. But then, if that happens, that’s almost the end of his story. So I’m happy to wait for as long or as soon as they want that to happen.” Now that you’re on the other side of season 3, how does that quote strike you?

Luke Newton: I’m kind of blown away, because it feels so appropriate. I got to play out the version of the story that I wanted. It’s what I predicted but a much deeper and a much more nuanced version of that. He does come back into society and feels confident and has this sense of swagger, but deep down it’s rooted in insecurity. I really loved playing that in the first couple of episodes. He’s acting like everything’s good, and he’s really confident and feels like the most desirable guy in town…but actually, he doesn’t really feel like that and that’s not important to him. There are many things that he’s lacked over the last summer that he’s trying to reconnect with.

A scene that brings that all together happens when he’s at the club with the guys and everyone’s talking about hooking up. He has this realization of, “This isn’t what I want.”

Yeah, I loved that moment. He’s just like, “This conversation is gross.” It shows his growth and maturity, which I think he’s not very aware of, as much as he’s trying to portray that to everyone. He has actually grown up and has had this development and comes from a really well-supported family and has had a good upbringing. So he doesn’t really fit in with those lords.

That was fun to play, all of the moments that he’s with the lords and trying to be one of the lads. And really, he’s a sensitive dude and has a lot of empathy for people. It’s fun to be in that part of the world where he doesn’t really belong.

He has come a long way from last season, when he was telling them, “Oh, I would never court Penelope.”

Those famous words. What was so great about that is that it gave us a sense of conflict and drama to start off with, but then there’s so much that happens that we quickly have to squash that. We can’t linger on that for too long because there’s so much to get into throughout the season.

I remember watching the first episode for the first time and being blown away by how much happens and how fast-paced the show is. We’re not setting any new characters up in terms of the main love story, so it was great to hit the ground running. It feels really busy and energetic.

As a viewer, I loved that we get to certain milestones quickly, because then you can see the fallout instead of building up to one big moment.

Yeah, there is a point where you think, Is this going to end now? Because everything seems pretty good. They’ve both been honest with each other, they both know how each other feel, and they’re obviously a good match. Like, where’s the issue? But the main thing that’s always hovering over us is Lady Whistledown. Even if there was no drama throughout the whole season, the Whistledown thing is enough to make or break anything.

Going into this season, you went from a supporting character to the lead. What were you most excited to dig into?

As an actor, it’s a gift to be able to play your story out in such detail and to explore such a range of emotions and themes. What’s really fun this season is that we got to dive into the rom-com element of the show. There are just so many themes that I got to explore and the range of emotions that I get to go through all in the space of, sometimes, five minutes. That was something that really excited me.

Being part of the ensemble of the show, there was only so much that I could do in the previous seasons. It’s a slow burn, the relationship between Colin and Pen from season 1. So exploring all those different themes was the thing that I was most excited for and the thing that I enjoyed the most as well.

Luke Newton has a whole backstory for Colin in ‘Bridgerton’ season 3 that’ll change how you watch

Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, Jorden Myrie as Lord Stanton, and Joe Barnes as Lord Wilding.LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

I interviewed John Glaser about the costumes this season, and he said Colin’s look was inspired by a cowboy. And then your character comes in with a new swagger and more confidence. Did the costumes help?

Oh, absolutely. I had my first costume fitting before I’d even read any scripts, and it gave me a sense of the gap between the end of season 2 and the start of season 3. Even just trying on my first costume and how different it felt—the silhouette felt different, colors were different, even the textures and how worn the materials were. In previous seasons, everything I wore was brand-new and felt very clean cut. My necktie was done up super tight, and it felt very prim and proper. And then he came back with this carefree attitude. It told me 100 stories before I even got down to reading the script, and then it just matched up so perfectly. So I was really grateful for my first fitting, and then I looked forward to them every time.

But also, what I loved this year was that they wanted to create a wardrobe for Colin. In previous seasons, we would say, “Okay, this waistcoat for this scene and that jacket for that scene.” But this season they were like, “Let’s just create a wardrobe that we can pick and choose from.” It’s things that he’s picked up from his travels and influences from all the cities that he’s been to. Even on the day [of filming, the costume department] would come to my trailer and go, “This waistcoat looks great. We can use that necktie.” Or, “That darker shirt looks great, and we can have the buttons open.” I felt like part of the process, which I feel very lucky to have had that opportunity.

In the same interview, makeup artist Erika Ökvist said that in previous seasons they emphasized round shapes with your haircut and the ruffles. They did away with that this season so they could see, to quote her, your “chiseled jaw.”

That was probably the thing I hated the most. I just never said anything about it because I knew that most of the women were wearing corsets, so I thought, “I can’t complain about a necktie being a bit too tight.”

But yeah, I loved having everything open. It was the same makeup team from season 2, so we’d formed a really good relationship. I actually spoke to Erika at the premiere of season 2, and we had a conversation at the party where she said, “What do you want to do? Should we just grow your hair from now and see where we get? What are we going to do about sideburns? Maybe just grow your beard, and we can take that to different levels.” It felt really nice to feel a part of all the decisions.

We explored so many different versions, down to the length and shape of my sideburns and if I was going to have any stubble and how we were going to style Colin’s hair. I loved a suggestion that Erika made, which was that she wanted it to feel quite windswept, like he just got a bit of salt water and put it through for a natural wave and curls. His hair was very neat and proper in previous seasons. So it, again, fueled stories of his journey to me.

You mentioned how much you liked having more input into the character. And last time we talked, you said you took it upon yourself to put more food in scenes as a nod to the books. Did you do anything like that this season?

I actually flipped that one on its head. He’s quite anxious throughout this season at times, and he’s going through a lot. So actually, I more wanted to show he’s not eating.

It’s out of character for him, right?

Yeah, he’s going through something. It’s not a comfort thing now; it’s “I’m stressed. I’m not hungry. I’m thinking about love and passion and my friend and how I can help her.”

But I don’t think there was anything else that I necessarily asked for. This season felt so detailed that it was all in the text, everything that Jess gave me. There’s a particular scene when Colin slightly lashes out. It’s just one tiny beat, but I thought it was so beautifully written because he’s in this place of real stress. He’s also massively hungover because he’s trying to escape his feelings the night before. Having that outburst…basically, what I}m trying to say is it was all in the text to me this year. I just flipped the food thing and was like, “He’s too stressed to be a hungry boy this year. He’s going through too much.”

Aside from the costumes and a new haircut, what did you use to channel the confidence and swagger he comes into this season with?

I did some research, which I’d done on the previous season as well, into what a young man that would go on a grand tour would experience. So I just tried to fill the gap of what his journey would’ve entailed between the end of season 2 and arriving in season 3.

What’s so useful about the show is that we have that fantasy element of it, so we can blur out the historical details. Historically, on a grand tour, you would have a tutor that would come with you and be responsible for you and guide you on a more sensible path. I liked the idea that he either just ran away or didn’t have a tutor this time. He was of a certain age where he maybe tagged along with some other younger lads and then went off and explored completely on his own. I think that’s where he goes off the rails slightly and had this wild experience abroad.

But also, again, just being surrounded by people that I’d worked with on previous seasons. Tricia, who was our first director, worked with us on season 1 and then came back for the first block of season 2. I had a new ring, and she gave me this backstory. We were standing around on set waiting for them to set up, and she gave me this backstory about this ring—that I’d met this older lady abroad, and she’d taken me under her wing and nurtured me, and we’d had this slight romantic experience.

Little things like that really brought me back. I think she was getting me into that headspace of, he’s really lived something and needs to take ownership of that. I wanted him to come back and feel like he owns something that he knows no one else has, particularly within London society. He knows that everyone lives a very sheltered life there. And as much as his brothers had been off to brothels ever since he can remember, he’d done it abroad and did it in many cities, and he really got to escape the Bridgerton name for a little while.

Luke Newton has a whole backstory for Colin in ‘Bridgerton’ season 3 that’ll change how you watch

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Obviously you can’t get into spoilers about how the season ends, but Bridgerton tends to have happy endings for its main characters. So in future seasons, how would you like Colin’s story to continue?

It’s kind of a surreal experience because I was very aware at the end of season 3 that I won’t have this experience again. I won’t get to lead this show again. But then, it’s nice to pass that on to people that you care about. I’ll be so excited to be back in the show and supporting my siblings’ stories. A lot of them feel like siblings to me; it’s really surreal.

So I’m excited for that, but also exploring the rom-com element of this season. We did a couple of pick-up scenes that were added; after we’d finished, we came back and did a few more. Jess had implemented this sense of rom-com between the two characters, and I think it would be fun to dive into that for season three 3, Colin and Pen, and see them have some time to be happy and giggle and be hopefully a comedy duo. I mean, Colin’s known for his dad jokes. I don’t know how funny other people will find him, but I’m sure he’ll laugh at himself.

Speaking of the family, Hannah Dodd joined as Francesca this season. Did you have any advice for her on joining the show, but also the Bridgertons?

Not really. She’d worked with a lot of friends of mine in the industry, and she’s already a pro, so it was more about welcoming someone into that dynamic. As the Bridgerton family, we’d had a shared experience of the growth of this show and the scale of it, so it was about welcoming Hannah into that. It was so weird how she just slot into it so naturally, like day one. It’s a testament to the casting team because they found someone that was completely—not only as her character, but as an actor—part of the family.

I didn’t have any advice. Whoever may lead the next season, there’s always this thought that the lead should pass on advice of what to expect in the future. But I feel like the cast is so strong and everyone knows what they’re doing. There’s nothing that I could suggest. I’m just like, “You do what you are doing, because it’s absolutely brilliant.” I’m so proud of everyone this year. Everyone has done such an amazing job. It’s really special.

I would love to hear from you about working with Lizzie Talbot, the intimacy coordinator.

What was really cool for me was that Lizzie had been on set since season 1. I hadn’t worked with her on scenes, but it was nice to have a familiar face coming into that space. And there’s a dialogue set up between us already, so it felt comfortable. Nicola, Lizzie, and I had a WhatsApp group, and we could freely talk about how we felt about the scenes and be open and honest about it. If there was anything that felt scary to us or that we didn’t feel comfortable with, Lizzie supported that. And if things changed on the day and we didn’t want to do something, she completely backed us. It felt like a very safe space.

People always ask, “What’s it like to do an intimacy scene with someone that’s your friend?” But also, we’ve had the same crew for three years now. To be in a stuffy room with a load of guys holding camera crew and holding boom mics and cameras can be intimidating, but it felt really safe and actually a liberating experience. I’d never had to do anything like that before, but now I know how easy it can be and that it can feel safe and just part of the job. It felt like we’re creating something that is authentic to these roles.

You’ve had multiple seasons of people looking forward to Polin’s story. How much has that shipping amplified going into season 3, and in what ways did that surprise you?

What’s really beautiful about the show is that people resonate with different characters, so I always thought it was an even spread of fans that followed everyone’s journey. But I started to get a sense of the scale of how many fans and people relate to Colin and Penelope, and specifically Penelope. A lot of people see themselves in Penelope and resonate with her and her journey.

It’s still something that I’m processing and getting used to on a daily basis. I don’t know how one person ever can understand or appreciate that, because it’s mind-blowing to me. But at the same time, I’m so, so grateful for it because I wouldn’t be here doing the show if the fans weren’t so supportive of that particular couple. I’m very excited for them to see it. They’ve been very patient. It’s so close now. I’m excited.

On a personal note, everyone in the cast has gone on from Bridgerton to do amazing things in their career. If you could manifest the perfect next project, what does that look like for you?

One of my favorite things about this job is that I’ve got to explore this character over five years of my life, and I’ve really lived in this experience. I guess, ultimately, it’s about doing something that’s completely different. Because I know that my story in the world of Bridgerton will continue and I’ll get to live on as Colin as years go on, it’s about having a range of characters. I want to look back on my career when I’m 50 and see a distinct difference between all these roles that I portrayed.

And now that I’ve said that, I hope that we do an interview when I’m 50 and go, “You said this, and now look.”

Well, let’s manifest. Is there a genre that you haven’t done yet?

I want to do something that’s quite dark, a role that’s quite dark, so maybe a thriller. But also, I am enjoying learning new skills and physical transformations. I’m loving training. Even within Bridgerton, I got to learn how to horse-ride and fence. I would never do that on a day-to-day basis, so things like that that. Maybe something that’s quite action-packed? I’d really love to dive into that and learn how to fight. Maybe I’ll feel safer on the streets of London.

I guess you’re not learning how to fight in the ballrooms of Bridgerton.

Oh, absolutely not. No. Maybe a stern word every now and then.

I know you can’t reveal which sibling will lead next season…

Luckily, I don’t know, because if they tell me, I’d be scared to…I’ve requested, “No one tell me until it’s the last minute, please.”

As their brother, what would you like to see if and when we continue with Eloise or Benedict?

I just love their relationships and how that’s developed over the years. I would like both of them to find what they’re looking for, because that’s what Colin gets. That’s what all the Bridgertons are seeking. They come from such a privileged background that they have everything at their disposal, so all of them have a sense of feeling quite lost, I think.

So maybe just to find what they’re looking for, whatever that might be. It might not be a romantic love. It could be anything. It could be a job. But to find some sort of contentment because I think that’s what the Bridgertons struggle with. Being put on that pedestal is quite difficult for them at times because they’re like, “Where do I look now?”

Last question: How will you be spending premiere day?

I’m taking each day as it comes at the moment, so I think that’s the best way to cope with it. But I am flying out some of my loved ones to New York; they’re going to come to the premiere, which still blows my mind that I’m saying that. When I think back to six years ago of being an unemployed actor, living on my friend’s sofa, I never thought that I’d say, “I’m going to fly my loved ones out to New York and see the premiere of a show that I’m leading.” It’s wild.

I’m going to experience that with my loved ones, and then maybe try and catch a little holiday before we continue to promote the second half. What’s really cool this year is that having the split means we get to digest that first half and focus on promoting that—but also for an audience, they get to digest it and dissect every moment. And then give it a month, and they’ll get a second installment. I’m excited, really excited.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Anna Moeslein is the deputy editor at Glamour and a Bridgerton fan.

This interview originally appeared on Glamour US.