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May 2, 2024 26 mins

Inside the Ton is a 4-part special that dives deep into the genesis and journey of some of the most beloved characters from Shondaland’s Bridgerton series. This episode is all about the rebels of the ton, Eloise and Benedict Bridgerton. Executive producer Betsy Beers is joined by Julia Quinn, author of the Bridgerton novels, showrunner Jess Brownell, and the actors who play the spirited siblings: Claudia Jessie and Luke Thompson. 

While listening to Inside The Ton, rewatch Bridgerton Seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix. Then, Binge Bridgerton season 3 on Netflix starting May 16th and immediately enjoy all the tea with us each week.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Bridgerton The Official Podcast is a production of Shondaland in
partnership with iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:10):
Welcome to Bridgerton the Official Podcast, your exclusive peak behind
the curtain of Shondaland's Bridgerton series. I'm Betsy Beers, executive
producer Bridgerton and your host for Inside the ton a
four part special that dives deep into the genesis and
journey of some of the most beloved characters from the show.

(00:33):
We kick things off with Penelope Featherington the last episode
and by the way, if you haven't listened, I really
highly recommend you do. And today we've got a two
for one special because we're talking about our favorite rebels
amongst the Bridgerton bunch, Eloise and Benedict. Joining me to
take a closer look at the notorious wingset siblings are

(00:55):
author Julia Quinn and showrunner Jess Brownell. And we'll also
hear actress Claudia Jesse and Luke Thompson waiy in on
what's heavy on their character's minds ahead of season three.
But first, let's recall the recent events in the lives
of Miss Eloise and mister Benedict Bridgerton. Number one, just

(01:15):
to fit right in. Eloise has made a habit of
rocking the boat of polite society. She's commonly seen refusing
to dance in balls, promenading with her nose in a book,
and outright questioning the institution of marriage itself. She doesn't
buy into the idea that a woman has to marry
and raise a family or take up hobbies like flower
ranging and pianoforte in order to be considered accomplished. In

(01:40):
season two, Elouise entered society, but her goal wasn't finding
a husband. No, she was much more interested in uncovering
Lady Whistledown's identity. Her investigation led her to spark an
unlikely relationship with a charming printer's assistant after coming close
to social ruin, though he's finally found out who was

(02:01):
really wielding the pen and discovered it was no other
than her best friend, Penelope Featherington. So now we are
all waiting with bita breath to find out how exactly
will Eloise deal with her best friend's betrayal. Benedict, on
the other hand, is a pretty good foil for Eloise's

(02:21):
experience at society. On his side, he's totally free to
avoid marriage at least for now, and in the last
season we saw him have a couple of flings, one
with our modiste, Madame de Lacroix and another with a
fellow art student. But Benedict's true love, it turns.

Speaker 3 (02:38):
Out, is the arts.

Speaker 2 (02:40):
We see him hone his skills with the brush as
he immerses himself in the bohemian underbelly of high society.
Like his sister, he explores to find a deeper purpose,
but his artistic aspirations are crushed when he finds out
his brother Anthony.

Speaker 3 (02:55):
Paid for his place in art school. Woof.

Speaker 2 (02:58):
I wonder what is next for our free spirit in
both love and creativity. So let's dive into the rebels, okay,
Eloise and Benedict Bridgardon. Julia Quinn has authored nearly forty books,
and the Bridgerton novels are among them. By the way,
that's quite a lot of characters to make up and
keep track of. From what I can tell. She and

(03:20):
I talked about where she got the inspiration for our
two rebels in this big world of high society, regency, romance,
and why it really is incredibly important to provide that
point of view within the ton let's talk a little
bit about Eloise and Benedict. I know on the show,

(03:44):
some of my favorite scenes are the two of them interacting,
just because the Swing. I'm just obsessed with the scenes
on the Swing.

Speaker 4 (03:51):
I wish I could claim that, but that came from
the screenwriters, and I love it. Their friendship is definitely
deeper in the show than I believe it was in
the book, and I absolutely love it.

Speaker 5 (04:01):
And I don't know. I have to think, but thank you.

Speaker 2 (04:03):
Someone, Okay, are either of these characters? I'm actually going
to open this upisode general question for you. How much
are any of these folks based on people? You know?

Speaker 4 (04:13):
I don't think there was anybody specific, although for a
long time I said I was a combination of Elouise, Francesca,
and Penelope, like if you put them.

Speaker 5 (04:24):
All together, you would get me.

Speaker 4 (04:26):
But now that I've gotten a lot older, I think
I might be violent now, which.

Speaker 5 (04:32):
Is not a bad thing.

Speaker 2 (04:32):
By the way, I'd kill to be a combination of
there as three women right there. And why do you
feel like it's important that both of these characters are
so different from the rest of the Ton, Because what's
great is you have the Ton and the Ton's kind
of going along, and then Eloise is going through her
own journey and Benedict's going through his own journey. It
seems like an important thing to me. But can you
speak a little bit to that in terms of the
different points of view you're giving up society?

Speaker 4 (04:55):
Well, I just think it's important to know that there
are people who for whom regular society doesn't work in
the same way, or that you can be a little
bit of a square peg and you can move along.
And the thing is, you know they're a little different,
but they actually do okay within it, but not like say, Daphne,

(05:17):
did you know it's not a perfect fit.

Speaker 2 (05:20):
I think you're right, it's like Daphanie. And this is
why I'm asking the question, because I feel like when
I watch it, it's really important to be able to
and read it. It's really important to have all these
different points of view on both the benefits of the
time in which they're living and the restrictions. Right. Yeah,
So what's great is you really get to fantasize as

(05:40):
Daphne about being the person who can crush it. What
I find incredibly to be this it's really refreshing to
have Eloise there, you know, as a sort of response,
and then Benedictoine you look at the burden of being
first born that Anthony has. It just it feels to
me like it's a really important thing to have all
these different points of view on how different people react

(06:05):
in what is an incredibly regimented and traditional sort of society.

Speaker 4 (06:10):
It's also a lot about finding yourself within and finding
your identity within a large family.

Speaker 3 (06:15):
Oh that's so interesting.

Speaker 4 (06:17):
Yeah, I come from a large family, so I mean
I kind of get that. I get that sense of
feeling like, you know, who am I apart from this
family in which I was born, which I think is
a big part of what drives Benedict specifically, Eloise has
the added layer of who am I apart from this
family in which I was born? And on top of it,

(06:37):
I'm female in a world that like doesn't let me
do anything, So there's that as well. But another thing
that I always try to do with these characters, especially
the women, is that you know, you have these women
who are kind of fighting against these restrictions, but they're
not necessarily overthrowing them. They're not the ones who are
like I'm going to you know, they're not completely smashing

(06:59):
the patriarch. It's a little early in time for anybody
to be able to do that. But you know, they're
not the women who history would necessarily label as extraordinary.
And yet I think it's so important to tell the
stories of women who were doing the best they could
with what they had, which which isn't necessarily the same

(07:21):
as the ones who you know, we can't all be
Marie Curiy. We can't all, you know, be the woman
who broke down the barricade. Sometimes we have to be
the women who took out the bricks from the wall
so somebody else could smash it down. And I just
think so often, you know, we hear these things like,
you know, well behaved women rarely make history, that's it.

Speaker 6 (07:41):
I love that.

Speaker 4 (07:42):
But there are a lot of women who don't make history,
but their stories are still so important. And so I
feel like I'm kind of fighting the narrative a little
that the only women we should celebrate are the extraordinary ones.

Speaker 3 (07:56):
That's really really well put.

Speaker 2 (07:58):
And I think, you know, because I'm thinking about and
you know, they ask a question, which is, oh, is
Eloise inspired by any particular you know, rebellious famous sort
of early suffragette and you just answered the question. Because
the interesting thing is I can't think of it. But
that doesn't mean that it's not a ton There's not

(08:19):
a tonnage of people doing tiny acts of kindness or
not even rebellion, I think very often. And it's one
of the things you do so beautifully with the bridger Tints,
and I think you play with with the Featheringtons in
a very different way, which is it's women supporting women.
And that's what's great about the Bridgetons is they're all different,

(08:40):
and they all kind of poke at each other, but
everybody's got everybody's back, and there's a genuine sort of
like love and support there. And I think what you're
saying about, they're all of these people who are contributing
to the moment when Madame Curie discovers the big Madame

(09:01):
Carree thing. You know, Yeah, And that's that's incredibly I
think that that's an incredible observation.

Speaker 4 (09:08):
Some of this has to do with the time period
and when in which I'm working, and that if you
look at you know, the history of women's rights, you know,
and and of suffrage and you know, trying to get
into university and things like that, it's all coming enough
years after the regency that you know, my characters, it's
difficult for them to be the first to.

Speaker 5 (09:28):
Be the one to knock down the wall.

Speaker 4 (09:30):
But I love the idea of them setting the stage
that their granddaughters are going to be able to maybe
one of their granddaughters.

Speaker 5 (09:37):
Can be the one who ends up in the history books.
But but again, I just I.

Speaker 4 (09:41):
Just don't like the idea that the only stories of
women that deserve to be told are the ones who
are in the history books or who, you know, if
in fiction, doing.

Speaker 5 (09:52):
Things that would put them in the history books.

Speaker 4 (09:54):
Like it's sort of like the whole trope of you know,
every dystopian novel seems to have like a t teenage
girl who is the chosen one.

Speaker 5 (10:01):
You know.

Speaker 4 (10:02):
It's like, well, I want to hear about some of
the people who weren't the chosen ones but are doing
stuff all the same, you know, And I just think
their stories are also important.

Speaker 2 (10:10):
I totally agree with you, and I think that that
is delightfully thought. It's a thousand teenage girls to lead
to the teenage girl that makes the big teenage blash.

Speaker 3 (10:25):
We'll be right back after this short break.

Speaker 2 (10:30):
Welcome back to Bridgerton the Official Podcast. I love how
Julius so beautifully encapsulated Shondalan's ethos when it comes to storytelling.
For us, not every story needs to be about the
moment the barrier has been broken, though of course we
love those tales. I think, really sometimes the most compelling

(10:52):
stories are the ones of those people who are simply
doing the absolute best they can to shift and to
grow with the cards that were done them. Thank you, Julia,
So I once again sat down with a woman who's
shaping the way we will see Eloise and Benedict on
screen this season, showrunner Jess Brown. Now we talk shop
about the siblings' experiences, their motivations, and what these characters

(11:15):
tell us about regency society and our own. I mean,
why do we have characters who are on the sides
poking fun at the society at the same time we're
watching it.

Speaker 7 (11:28):
Well, I think they're stand ins for modern audience in
a lot of ways. You know, you have both of
them who are in some ways two hundred years ahead
of their time, and they have like this little itch
that something's not right about this world, which we as
modern audiences obviously see.

Speaker 2 (11:46):
What do you see happening and what can you sort
of tease for people happening for Benedict this season too?
Because I do feel like I love Benedict. I mean,
what can we say about and what can you talk
about to expect from Benedict to see and where do
you think Benedict's head is as we enter into this season.

Speaker 7 (12:04):
Yeah, So Benedict is a really fun character to write
for because he's one of the more impulsive characters. You know,
season one he was in the party world, he decided
he didn't want to do that, and then season two
he was in the art world. He got a little
tiny feeling of rejection after he found out Anthony bought

(12:26):
his way into art school and he gave up. Which
is an area of growth. A potential growth for Benedict is,
you know, both the quickness with which he jumps into
something and then the quickness with which he jumps out
of it. So entering into season three, he's going to
be jumping into a new milieu and potentially jumping out

(12:50):
of it and jumping into something else again.

Speaker 6 (12:52):
I think his.

Speaker 7 (12:53):
Journey in season three is about figuring out what he
wants because he's a character who could do anything. He's
a renaissance man, but he has to decide what he
wants to commit to.

Speaker 3 (13:06):
Yeah, I can hardly wait to watch that.

Speaker 2 (13:09):
So I think there's been a lot of chatter and
talk about the fact that there are two characters in
the show, obviously that are seem to be kind of
moving towards our alternative lifestyles is the best way I
can put it, Like Eloise and Benedict both and that
they don't fit into the ton They're trying to carve
new experiences for themselves and develop new ways of living,

(13:30):
and some fans have found parallels in their personal experiences
with being in the LGBTQ community. Why do you think
those characters resonate with that audience and what are your
thoughts on the theory.

Speaker 7 (13:44):
Yeah, First of all, I think if Benedict and Eloise
were alive in twenty twenty four, they would both think
it's awesome that they're queer icons. In a way, I
think they would certainly be allies of the queer community
at the very least, whether or not either one of
them is queer is, you know, left to be to

(14:04):
be discovered. You know, we know that Eloise has had
feelings for THEO the printer boy. Does that mean that
she couldn't also feel something for a woman? Who knows?
But I'll say this, I think part of the reason
it seems people think Eloise might be queer is because
she loves to read and she doesn't want to get married.

(14:28):
And I just I know a lot of lesbians who
have had a Pinterest board for their wedding since they
were thirteen and who haven't picked up a book in years.
So I don't think that loving to read and you know,
not wanting to get married are a definite you know, yes,
she's queer. I do think that it means that maybe

(14:52):
she's interested in something other than romance, something bigger than romance,
and that might evolve over time. But for where she
that right now, I don't think it's just that she
hasn't found the right gender. She's just not interested in
romance at all right now in her life men, women anyone.

Speaker 6 (15:11):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (15:12):
And she and she's had a best friend, you know,
and they've shared this in common too, which means she
was she has company and it is It's funny. It's
like she doesn't like petticoats and dresses, so therefore dot
dot dot dot. But I think that's incredibly well put,
and any comments on I mean, Benedict's sort of in
the same category, which is he just seems like a

(15:33):
guy who is interested in searching for what's next and
what and where he belongs in that family.

Speaker 7 (15:40):
You know, yes, he is trying to figure out his
place in the world and what he wants. He's certainly
an open minded character.

Speaker 2 (15:49):
I think what I would just say about Benedict is
Benedict is clearly somebody who he's been in the Demimonde,
he's been a painter. I think he's somebody who is
is curious about the world. But it's going to be
fun to watch him grow and figure out what his
place is in the Bridgerton family. I think it's really
hard when your brothers, and certainly when your oldest brother

(16:10):
is Antony, because I'll never forget. In like season one,
Antony's about to go into a duel and you can
see on Benedict's.

Speaker 3 (16:17):
Face, Oh this blows.

Speaker 2 (16:20):
Yeah, are you telling me that I might have to
actually take over here?

Speaker 3 (16:24):
You've got to be drunk.

Speaker 6 (16:25):
I can't.

Speaker 3 (16:26):
I can't.

Speaker 2 (16:27):
So he's got a long way to go to get anywhere,
I think in terms of his sort of his personal growth,
which is another reason why I think it was so
smart to use Penelope and Colin and bring them up
for this season.

Speaker 7 (16:42):
Yeah, I don't want to force them into a box
too quickly. I also, if I can, while we're here
talking about, you know, the LGBT community, I think it's
important to note Bridgerton is a show about love and
all its forms. You know, we explore friendship love, we
explore romantic love. I think it is very import important
to explore LGBT love on the show as well, and

(17:04):
I'm really excited for fans to see what we're doing
with that in coming seasons.

Speaker 2 (17:08):
Yep. It's also I think the really interesting decision to
make Elouise the one who finds out about Lady Whistledown,
because I don't think it was like that in the book.

Speaker 7 (17:19):
So in the book, Eloise is one of the last
people actually to find out that Penelope is whistled Down.
But in our world, we've foregrounded the relationship between Eloise
and Penelope so much, and Eloise's search for Whistledown has
been such an ongoing runner that it made sense for
Eloise to be one of the first people to know

(17:41):
that she's whistled down. And I'll also say that I
think a lot of really interesting stuff is happening in
that fight between them at the end of season two.
You know, of course, Penn is in the wrong in
a lot of ways for lying to Eloise, for writing
about her the way she did, and plenty of other
men stakes, But I wouldn't say Eloise is entirely blameless either.

(18:04):
In their friendship. I think Eloise has some growth to
do around listening, and I think she spends a lot
of time sort of monologuing at Penelope without really holding
quite enough space for Penn. Some of that is Pen's responsibility,
you know, for herself, but I think a part of

(18:25):
Eloise knows that she's taken up a lot of space
in this friendship, and maybe if she had allowed pen
a little more space, she would have told her that
secret earlier on. So I think it's going to be
really interesting to not have them be friends in season three.
It gives them both a chance to grow without that
safety net of their best friend. Oh.

Speaker 2 (18:48):
I think I think that's such a good point, and
I totally agree with you, because I feel like we've
also you know, I think as a storyteller for you,
but also as an audience member, you start to take
certain relationships for granted, and I take certain relationships for granted,
and then they go in the shitter, and then I
understand that I was taking for granted.

Speaker 3 (19:07):
Also, you look at the age that.

Speaker 2 (19:09):
These girls are, these women are while this story is
being told, and of course you start to grow in
different directions. And I think it was such a smart
thing to do because we get dependent and lazy as
watchers when we see the same relationship over and over again.
It's going to make the storytelling for this season even
more interesting because we get it's almost like a do

(19:31):
over for these two characters in a really really cool way.

Speaker 7 (19:35):
Yeah, it's a chance to discover whether, you know what,
we were just friends of convenience all along as a
lot of us, you know, have with these friendships from
high school or college or whatever, or are we soul
friends who just needed to do a little growing separately.
That's the question I think coming into season three.

Speaker 2 (20:02):
As you heard Jess allude to, We've got so much
to look forward to with these two characters in this season.
I am beyond excited to continue our conversations with Jess
in the coming episodes.

Speaker 3 (20:14):
Wait for it.

Speaker 2 (20:15):
You know, we can't let this episode end without hearing
from the actual actors who brought these characters to life.

Speaker 3 (20:21):
Here's Claudia Jesse, who plays Eloise.

Speaker 8 (20:28):
Elouise is nineteen as am I, and in season two
we've sort of we've left her with no best mate
and the ending of a sort of situationship she had with,
you know, a lovely printer boy, and so things have

(20:48):
sort of caved in. And then in her family everyone's
marrying off or finding their path, and I think I
think Eloise is a lot of the time met with
a sort of loving eye roll from her family. So
I think she must feel quite alone. I guess if
I mean, I'm thirty four, and if my relationship ended

(21:11):
and then my best friend Laila and I fell out,
and then I turned to my family, who all seemed
to love me, but not fully fully get they don't
fully catch my hammer, if you will. The one thing
that she found solace in was reading Lady Whistledown, which
has now been tarnished and tainted slightly. I just think

(21:35):
she will feel quite empty. So there's no surprise that
when people are sort of disenfranchised and not enchanted by
the things around them, they may end up following an
unusual path. The reason I think that the audience connects
with Eluise is because she is the closest to the.

Speaker 6 (21:57):
Audience that you're going to get.

Speaker 8 (21:59):
I believe the beauty about Bridgington is that we can
sort of bleed into different, you know, disciplines.

Speaker 6 (22:06):
We don't always have to walk this perfect line of
like a period drama.

Speaker 8 (22:10):
Like you know, it's beautiful, It's like this perfect thing
with all these the wicked music and you know, everything's
just a little bit, a little bit spread out, do
you know what I mean? And I think Eloise is
very contemporary, She's very funny.

Speaker 6 (22:23):
I've certainly played her with.

Speaker 8 (22:26):
What feels like a fresh like physicality as well, So
I think I think that's why people connect with her
so much. And I haven't seen what people say online,
but I do have people that have said to me,
you know that they love Eloise because they can relate
to her.

Speaker 2 (22:48):
Here is the incomparable Luke Thompson who plays Benedictte.

Speaker 9 (22:54):
Because it's so relaxed, it was quite nice to hide
behind his relaxed Delean they're on set because when I
was really stressed, I think, well, benefit's not stressed, so
I'll just leave back and enjoy it. So he's actually
been a very nice character to sort of just sort
of slip into. And you know, obviously it's amazing to
be able to take you know, it's not given. It's

(23:15):
quite an opportunity to get to take a character like
this through that long a time where because you can
really develop the character and all sorts of directions, and
that's sort of what's happened in season one and two.
I think what's been really fun is you really get
a sense of someone trying to find himself and trying
different things, and those different things making him feel different ways,
and then you get to have a proper sort of

(23:37):
landscape to play with. He's got a nice position with Eloise,
one of the sort of I guess, but one of
a better word, yeah, Rebels, I guess, certainly sort of outsiders,
which is fun because he's sort of always slightly commenting
on what's going on. He's slightly sort of to one side.
I think people identify with that, that sort of sense
of not being sure quite how you fit into a

(23:58):
structure and trying to work out who you are in
relationship to it all. You know, he's not been pushed out.
It's just that he doesn't feel like he quite fits in,
which is a different thing. And again I think maybe
that's also what's really fun to play with a character
like that, is that the struggle is inside, not outside.

(24:18):
The struggle is something to do with who he sees
himself as and how he relates to other people, rather
than as we discover I think in season two. You know,
when he's put in a situation where he is in society,
he manages it perfectly well. In many ways, he manages
it better than Anthony. You know, actually he's much more
He's much more contained and able to sort of navigate.

(24:39):
He's not more diplomatic in a way than Anthony, So
you know, in a way, it's not a question of aptitude.
It's not a question of him not being able to it.
It's something in that and that's really juicy to like,
that's really interesting to play around with think about.

Speaker 2 (24:58):
So many thank you, thank you, thank you to my
special guests Claudia Jesse, Luke Thompson, Jess Brownell and of
course Julia Quinn. I'm your host, Betsy Beers, and thank
you for listening to Inside the Ton?

Speaker 3 (25:13):
What mischief for you?

Speaker 2 (25:14):
Kind of hoping Eloise and Benedict get into in season three?

Speaker 3 (25:18):
Don't keep it secret. Let us know in reviews. We
love reviews.

Speaker 2 (25:23):
Next week on Inside the Ton, are you ready, We're
spotlighting Yes, Violet Bridgerton and Portia Featherington to mamas who
may have more in common than we think.

Speaker 1 (25:35):
Stay tuned, Bridgerton. The official podcast is produced by Shondaland
Audio and Wonder Media Network. This show is executive produced
by Sandy Bailey, Alex Alcea, Lauren Homan, Jenny Kaplan, and
Emily Rudder. Our producers are Sarah Schleid, Edie Allard, and

(25:56):
Carmen Borca Carrio. This episode is edited by Jenny Kaplan
and Emily Rudder. Our associate producers are Lauren Williams and
Akiah mcnight. If you haven't finished binging Bridgerton, please head
to Netflix so you can enjoy these spoilers with us
each week. For more podcasts from Shondaland Audio, visit the

(26:16):
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your
favorite shows.
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