Bridgerton creator says show's 12 Emmy noms repudiate romance genre as 'trashy or disposable'
"I'm just so happy that people were able to find the joy that the show provides," he says.
Bridgerton is now an Emmy diamond of the first water.
The Netflix series picked up 12 Emmy nominations on Tuesday, including nods for Regé-Jean Page for Best Actor in a Drama Series, Julie Andrews for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance, and Best Drama Series.
"I don't think Lady Whistledown herself would have the right words to really express the amazingness of this moment," creator Chris Van Dusen tells EW. "It's huge. It's big for us and we're all just beside ourselves in excitement."
Bridgerton, a Shondaland effort for Netflix, is based on Julia Quinn's bestselling series of romance novels about the marital misadventures of the Bridgerton family in Regency England. Historically, romance novels have been maligned, dismissed as "trashy" or "mommy porn," but Van Dusen says he hopes these nominations are a firm disavowal of those views.
"There's this misconception out there that romance novels are trashy or disposable or that they can't be smartly written and that's certainly not what I have found," he says. "It certainly wasn't true for the Bridgerton books. So, I hope this is a bit of a repudiation of that."
We chatted with Van Dusen about his initial reaction to the dozen nominations, his thoughts on his departing leading man's nod, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your reaction to these 12 nominations when you heard the news?
CHRIS VAN DUSEN: I found it amazing and extraordinary and a little surreal. I'm so humbled and most of all, proud of this cast, this crew, and hearing the nominations filled me with such tremendous gratitude.
I always hoped that people would find and fall in love with the show, but I certainly never could have predicted or anticipated this. It's been incredibly exciting. The response and the reception has just been wild at times, and seeing the tweets and the memes and the Bridgerton TikTok musical — it's made things surreal, but in the best way possible.
Regé-Jean Page got nominated as well. Have you had a chance to speak to him yet about it?
Yes, and I am so happy for him and excited for him. It was such a privilege to work with Regé on the first season, and he is our duke and he will always be our duke. I know he's set to continue charming the world in some really incredible ways, and I hope I'm fortunate to work with him again.
Is it bittersweet at all, him getting that recognition and having moved on from the show for now?
I wouldn't say it's bittersweet. I'm just so happy for him, and it's beyond well-deserved and I am so excited. I feel so much happiness that his brilliance was recognized this morning, and I hope it will continue to be recognized.
Have you talked to Julie Andrews about her nomination? What was her reaction?
We exchanged some emails this morning, yes. She's beside herself as well in excitement. She's going to be back with us for the second season, obviously as the voice of Lady Whistledown. That's something I'm always excited for audiences to hear — the things coming out of her mouth as Whistledown. She'll be back with all of her witty comments and her musings to delight us all.
How does this fuel you as you're in the middle of season 2 production?
There's always been this pressure with making the show. It was the first show I created on my own. The books are so beloved and fans of the books feel so passionately about the characters and stories, so all that pressure was a healthy kind of pressure. It certainly worked for season 1, and I'm carrying that with me into season 2. Bring on all the pressure. I'm excited for audiences to see what we we've been cooking up.
Can you tease anything about season 2 for us?
I just got into the editing bay on the first two episodes of the season, and I don't honestly think people are going to be ready. It's everything audiences loved so much about the first season, but just more. We have new characters and storylines, we have this Sharma family, which is new to our world, and they've really filled out the world in an amazing way. Kate Sharma, played by Simone Ashley, she is a force to be reckoned with, and we pair up with her Anthony Bridgerton, played by Jonathan Bailey, who's just incredible. The two of them, they are magnetic. You cannot take your eyes off of them when they're together on screen. It reminded me in season 1, when we were filming the Vauxhall ball under a sea of fireworks with Daphne and Simon, there was this magical moment and I really felt something special. There was something electric about that moment. I've had that same kind of feeling, watching Jonny and Simone as Anthony and Kate this season as well. So I cannot wait for audiences to see that or to feel that, rather.