- “Bridgerton” star Adjoa Andoh said she was surprised to get an audition for the show.
- Andoh recalled in the new “Inside Bridgerton” book that she asked whether she had a shot at a part.
- The Lady Danbury actress said that Black actors normally don’t get historical fiction roles.
“Bridgerton” star Adjoa Andoh said she confronted the show’s casting director about its “color-blind” approach to roles when she was first called to audition for the series.
Andoh plays Lady Danbury in the first two seasons of the hit Netflix series and is set to star in the spinoff series “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.”
However, according to the new behind-the-scenes book “Inside Bridgerton,” by creators Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, the actor was confused as to why she was brought in to audition for the role in the first place because Black actors did not typically appear in period dramas in the UK.
Kelly Valentine Hendry, the casting director, said in the book: “We checked her availability, and I held my breath because she is not available very often. When she came in to read, her question was: ‘Kelly, why am I here?’ She meant as a Black woman, a Black actress. I love that she asked the question because the question needed to be asked.”
Andoh then added: “As someone who has grown up in this country with the history of this country — you know, you can’t try out for costume dramas, you can’t go for historical romance. And so typically, actors of color think, ‘Oh, another job I won’t get.’ I needed to know that this was an opportunity to be in it — and also that I was expected to be myself, a Black woman, not a Black woman pretending that she is white.”
The 59-year-old actor continued: “I needed to know that the auditions weren’t color-blind. Because when we say we’re color-blind, whose color are we being blind to? I am the color I am. I delight in my race, and I wouldn’t want to be anything else. I think I was born with a winning ticket, thank you very much.”
One of the reasons that “Bridgerton” stood out to audiences was its diverse cast, something that has become more prominent in recent years in films such as “Belle” and “The Personal History of David Copperfield.”
People of color are seen both in main roles such as Lady Danbury and Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), as well as background characters. However, when the series first aired, some of the stars had to speak out to defend the diverse casting due to critics complaining about historical accuracy.
In 2020, Rosheuvel told Tausi Insider that diversity in historical fiction was “long overdue.”
“For a long time, people of privilege have been in charge of the storylines and storytelling. I don’t know whether they have intentionally written out Black people because we know that there were Black people and people of color,” she said.