"Jonny Bailey for the win!" gushes Bridgerton star Charithra Chandran.
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From the moment that Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) rose from a lake dripping wet in a white shirt, Pride and Prejudice fans were reaching for their smelling salts.

The moment is reminiscent of an iconic scene in Andrew Davies' 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in which Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy takes a dip in a Pemberley lake, only to stumble upon Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) while still wet and disheveled.

It's not canon to Jane Austen's text but that hasn't stopped generations of viewers from swooning at it, including Bridgerton creator Chris Van Dusen, who decided to include a direct nod to it in season 2 of his Netflix series.

"There are some images that have been burned into my brain for a very long time," he tells EW. "And those naturally came out onto the page when I was writing the show. I've definitely talked about my love for that 1995 BBC adaptation with Colin Firth emerging from the lake in his white shirt. That scene of Anthony going in relates to that. It's an Easter egg for fans of the genre."

In episode 5, Anthony trips over Kate's (Simone Ashley) dog, Newton, only to knock both himself and Mr. Dorset (Sam Frenchum) into the lake. Though Anthony falls in wearing his full waistcoat, he strips down to his shirt to emerge from the lake, the white material plastered to his well-cut form as Kate and Edwina (Charithra Chandran) both look on, visibly impressed.

Bridgerton
Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix; Everett

Lest you think it was done as a throwaway wink, Van Dusen reveals that a great deal of research went into making it the perfect thirsty moment for fans. "We tested that white shirt to make sure it was just the right amount of see through and clingy enough," he says. "We worked really hard to make that moment magical and memorable."

Jonathan Bailey was excited, rather than intimidated to put his own stamp on this moment despite Colin Firth's strong association with it. "I read it and I thought it was absolutely brilliant and hilarious," he says. "This is why the show is so brilliant, because it's self-aware enough to be able to raid the romance genre. It's tongue in cheek."

Bailey says they actually got the fall in one take and his emergence from the lake in two, but that it still was a bit more complicated than it might seem, predominantly because the full Regency garb he wore was very weighty to remove once wet. "The jacket was really heavy," he says. "You can literally see that it's really hard to get off my shoulder, it's so heavy. It didn't feel as sexy as it read on the page. But much like with everything in Bridgerton, the brilliant post team have done a really good job."

Even more so, given that the reaction shots that make the scene click comedically weren't all shot at the same time. Simone Ashley tells EW she shot her scenes where Kate is staring on a completely separate day. "We weren't actually looking at Jonny in the lake," she admits. "Sorry to spoil it for people! He was away doing something. We were pretending we were looking at him, and then, actually I missed him falling in the lake. I was off riding my horse filming another scene with the second unit. That whole scene is all movie magic and cut together."

Chandran, however, was present to see the fall. "Jonny Bailey for the win," she proclaims. "It must be pressure for Jonny because it's such an obvious comparison. So, my heart went out to him. He's the utter professional. He smashed it, and looked beautiful doing it."

Bailey reveals that Chandran had actually wrapped for the day a few hours prior to filming the dip into the water, but that she stuck around specifically to watch it go down. "There's a lot of schadenfreude I think," he quips.

But how exactly did they nail it in one take, movie magic or not? "I just was told to really launch into [actor Sam Frenchum], and that's the way to sell the stunt so it looks natural," Bailey explains. "After all of that setup, if you did it and tripped and didn't fall into the lake properly, it wouldn't have worked."

However, it was his interaction with Frenchum that made Bailey feel they needed a second take of the exit from the lake. "I just remember feeling Sam's body crunch into me because [the water] wasn't very deep," he recalls. "That was the main thing I was worried about. So, we did go back in to make sure that we got it properly, but it was all really quick. I was wearing this plastic sheet underneath me to keep me warm. And it was over within five minutes."

It might have been a speedy sequence to shoot, but the moment will be etched onto Bridgerton fan's memories for all time.

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