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A Bridgerton Story Actor Tunji Kasim Gets the Royal Treatment

May 3, 2023


In the words of Lady Whistledown, “Dearest, gentle reader…” thy heart will pound with glorious delight upon tuning into Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, the new Netflix miniseries that drops on May 4th. But first, there is much to sift through. Season two of Bridgerton wrapped in spring 2022, tying up the romance between Anthony and Kate (Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley) nicely. But we also saw the fallout of the friendship between Penelope and Eloise (Nicola Coughlan and Eloise Crane) after Eloise discovers Penelope’s alter ego is — clutch your pearls! — Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews).

There’s much more beyond that, but let’s face it: Wasn’t there always more than just modest intrigue surrounding Queen Charlotte herself, brought to life with exquisite dynamism by Golda Rosheuvel? Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, created by Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy) is a worthy companion piece to Bridgerton as it chronicles young Charlotte’s rise to power and her complicated romance with King George III.

India Amarteifio and Corey Mylchreest play the young queen and king here with Rosheuvel reprising her role as Charlotte as an adult. Ruth Gemmell returns as Lady Violet Bridgerton, too, and Adjoa Andoh is back Lady Agatha Danbury, while Arsema Thomas plays young Lady Agatha. Queen Charlottte fills in some gaps between the end of season two and Bridgerton’s upcoming third season. It’s a colorful and passionate romp, to say the least, and Queen Charlotte scene-stealer, Tunji Kasim (Nancy Drew) was enthralled with coming on board the project, playing Charlotte’s pragmatic brother, Adolphus, who escorts her to London and hands her off to King George’s court.

Tunji Kasim, who was born in Scotland and raised in Nigeria, began his acting journey at 17. After impressive theater roles, he went on to star in Good Liar, The Kill Team, and, most recently, as Ned “Nick” Nickerson on CW’s supernatural thriller Nancy Drew. The actor shared more about his role in the highly-anticipate series in this exclusive MovieWeb interview.

Enter: Your Royal Highness, Queen Charlotte

MovieWeb: Congratulations on the series. Wonderful fun. Let’s dive deep. Why do we love Bridgerton? We can’t seem to get enough of it.

Tunji Kasim: Yes, well, and why will we love Queen Charlotte? Well, it’s very much in the same universe as Bridgerton and of course, it’s its own thing in many ways. I suppose we love it because we’ve always had, especially in the UK, a tradition of carrying on stories about historical dramas. You know, we still have a royal family. So that’s very relevant to us still, and there’s still intrigue about that around the world. I suppose Bridgerton is a brand new, very 2020-ish modern take on that classic genre, especially with diverse casting.

Kasim: Queen Charlotte is particularly relevant, I would say, and a modern comparison to Harry and Meghan. It’s about a woman coming into a rooted establishment, very much set in its ways of not accepting outsiders. That’s the story of Queen Charlotte in many ways — an outsider coming into an established monarchy and finding her place within it.

MW: Adolphus is a great character. Strong-willed. Determined. He hands off his sister to King George’s camp but has no idea of the challenges she’ll face.

Kasim: Adolphus was a funny one to take on in a sense. I like him. And in many ways, I dislike him. Ultimately what I had to do with Adolphus is just a set it up. He is a man of his time, a man that’s in charge of a country, and he has, unfortunately, first and foremost, his duties to these people. His family and personal relationships are secondary to that. He gets put in a very difficult position where he has to essentially give away his sister whom he loves, to what you would call an arranged marriage. You can easily judge him, and go, “He’s a bit of an a-hole for doing that.” But I think he’s a man of his time, and he did what he had to do. As much as he didn’t like it. It was a struggle for him.

MW: A man of his time, for sure.

Kasim: It’s what he needed to do to gain a very powerful ally in the world at the time. I love the conflict in Adolphus, and the diplomat in him. That balancing act he has to carry off. That was very intriguing for me.

On Working with India Amarteifio

Netflix

MW: India Amarteifio is wonderful as young Queen Charlotte. Can you share more about working with her?

Kasim: India is absolutely fantastic and extremely talented. What she did with Queen Charlotte was very much her own but very much connected to the other, older Queen Charlotte. It very much felt like the same person, and it’s extremely impressive how she did that. The chemistry between us, I think, was, fortunately, naturally there. For whatever reason, there was a natural kind of sibling chemistry. We didn’t really have to work on too much, thankfully.

MW: And those costumes. Those sets.

Kasim: You know, spending a whole day in a carriage being drawn by horses in the middle of summer is […] I mean, it was kind of hotboxing inside this steaming hot carriage in the middle of like, a 40-degree [Celsius] British summer, and that will create a bond between two people. But we also bonded over music. We’re both big music fans. And the script itself allowed us to bounce off each other quite well as actors. She’s just a fantastic human being.

MW: Queen Charlotte, the character, certainly evolves as the episodes go on.

Kasim The character is finding her footing. Then by episode six, seeing the evolution and the confidence she’s gained […] I suppose there’s a mirror image there of what the character is actually going through to what India was similarly going through. From the start, Charlotte is finding her ground and towards episode six, she’s very much an established monarchy. And India, very much an actor established in the character and very confident in holding on tight with it, shaping it to be exactly what she wanted it to be.

How the Netflix Series Captures King George III

Netflix

MW: It’s refreshing, too, that the series didn’t sidestep the subject of mental illness. We’re talking about King George III, of course. Corey Mylchreest was amazing in that capacity and bringing a young King George to life.

Kasim: I think empathy is always a good thing when it comes to mental illness. Especially when it comes to someone suffering. It’s always good to understand, empathize, and try and get into their shoes or into their mind and understand their suffering. Because it’s easy to look from the outside and judge. You know, in 2023, we’re doing that now more than ever. There’s a long way to go. And we can definitely always exercise that muscle more as a society.

MW: The series really captures that part of King George’s history.

Kasim: I suppose he’s always been called mad — the Mad King George. And he has, for all intents and purposes, been looked at as a bit of a joke, and mocked and ridiculed. As you said, Corey fantastically does so well. And the writing is good. This production explores the reality of that, and what’s the day-to-day of that. How did that affect this man, and his relationships with his nearest and dearest? And it has a profound effect.

MW: It’s an ambitious way to tackle the subject.

Kasim: Correct. There’s a version out there where you brush over it, right? And maybe don’t really go down there especially in, I suppose, something like Bridgerton, which is very romance-orientated. You could just create a whitewashed version of it that looks a lot prettier. Something a lot more digestible, but I think in this case, actually, there’s some hard stuff to watch. And I love the show for that. I appreciate it all the more. And in many ways, Queen Charlotte is, I wouldn’t say excessively dressier than Bridgerton, but I suppose it feels like a real deep dive into some stuff in Britain and unapologetically so. That’s what makes Queen Charlotte slightly different in many ways.

MW: It’s hard to imagine that this is all we’ll get of Queen Charlotte. Would you come back for more in, say, another six-episode miniseries?

Kasim: Sure. If there’s an idea for it and, of course, there’s still a [time] gap there [between Bridgerton events]. There’s still a gap there in history where more stories can be told. I haven’t heard nor could confirm or deny if there’s more. If the stories are good, I’m in. I definitely had nothing but a glorious time working on this production.

MW: What do you think viewers will be most surprised about with Queen Charlotte?

Kasim: That it’s also taking a good look at very hard topics, not only George’s mental illness, but I think there’s a larger conversation about Charlotte. I referenced, Harry and Meghan earlier. So, there’s a conversation definitely within this about Charlotte’s being a different skin color to the establishment that is the British Royal Family. There are some very uncomfortable moments around that. I don’t know if it would be necessarily surprising for viewers, or if it will be a pleasant surprise that this production is definitely willing to look at all those things — not necessarily shy away from them. But I love the series.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story premieres on Netflix May 4.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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