Nicola Coughlan Explains Why She Thought She'd Be Fired From Bridgerton

In a new interview, Nicola Coughlan recalled the early days of her career, before she booked the role of Penelope Featherington on Netflix's Bridgerton.

By Cydney Contreras Mar 21, 2022 3:31 PMTags

Some things just sound too good to be true.

When Nicola Coughlan was cast as Penelope Featherington in the TV adaptation of Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series, she was cautiously optimistic. "I should have been like, 'This is amazing,'" she told The New York Times about the role. "Instead, I was like, 'This is fishy. I don't know about this.'"

Nicola was apprehensive because, according to NYT, "she had known plenty of actors who were hired onto prestige projects and then fired when the studio demanded a bigger name."

In reality, showrunner Chris Van Dusen was already singing her praises to everyone involved in the project: "I'm happy to say that everyone loved her as much as I did," Van Dusen told the paper.

Now, with one season under her belt, Nicola is more confident in her abilities—save for the romantic scenes.

Bridgerton Season 2: First Look Photos

Even though the sophomore season has yet to premiere, the star is already thinking about season four, which is likely to follow Penelope as she is courted. The thought of playing a more romantic side of the character has Nicola feeling "terrified."

"I'm probably more comfortable being awkward and funny, so it's going to be a massive challenge for me," she explained, "because it's not my comfort zone."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Comedy comes quite naturally to Nicola. She also stars as Clare Devlin, a lovable Goody Two-shoes in Netflix's Derry Girls, which just wrapped filming on its third and final season. Creator Lisa McGee noted in the article that the actress actually helped inspire her writing. She said, "I could write more jokes for Clare once I saw the way Nicola was playing her."

Though the 35-year-old actress previously struggled with booking roles—her friend told the NYT that Nicola worked "part-time jobs that were depressing as hell" before getting her big breaks—she's more optimistic about her career now that she's been in two massively successful shows. She shared, "In a weird way, I feel like I'm just getting started."

Season two of Bridgerton premieres March 25. 

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