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Bridgerton Season 3
Bridgerton Season 3
Culture > Entertainment

Here’s How ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Got Its Sex Scenes To Look *So* Real

Even the most seasoned TV fans had probably never heard the term “intimacy coordinator” until Bridgerton came out in 2020. I don’t blame you; the position was (and still is) relatively new in Hollywood. After the Harvey Weinstein scandal came to light in 2017, intimacy coordinators have become more common on sets to ensure the safety and comfort of actors while filming intimate scenes. Bridgerton has been vocal about its use of intimacy coordinators since Season 1. So have the actors involved in some of the steamiest period drama sex scenes ever committed to the screen. So, what did it actually take to make Bridgerton Season 3’s spicy scenes come to life? 

Ever since Netflix announced that Season 3 would focus on Polin, fans of the Bridgerton books couldn’t wait to watch two of the series’ most famous sex scenes — the carriage scene and the mirror scene — play out on screen. Bridgerton’s showrunner, Jess Brownell, said that creating those scenes “starts with talking to Nicola and Luke about what they’re comfortable with and planning from there. And because we had had those conversations, we were able to get exactly what we hoped from the [scenes] because they knew what to expect. And they had a lot of practice time with the intimacy coordinator.”

That practice time didn’t necessarily mean running the scenes a thousand times. Nicola Coughlan (who plays Penelope) said that she and Luke Newton (who plays Colin) were given a framework to play in rather than a choreography to memorize. “We knew we had to hit certain points, but we were able to flow with it and make it seem natural and organic,” she said. “It’s amazing having that control. It makes you feel very empowered.”

One of the most empowering aspects of filming sex scenes, according to Coughlan, is having the autonomy to choose what parts of their body to show on camera. She told Stylist that when reading a sex scene, she thinks, “Ok, what do I want to show? What don’t I want to show? What’s scripted, and what do I want to add?” Coughlan going topless during the mirror scene was her idea. “It just felt like the biggest ‘fuck you’ to all the conversation surrounding my body; it was amazingly empowering.”

Newton credited the unexpected comfort that came with filming Season 3’s sex scenes to his off-screen friendship with Coughlan. It also helped that they were able to laugh at his very unsexy intimacy garment, which he described to Men’s Health as “a sock with a cup on it … I had a robe on, so I went to Nic and said, ‘Nic, I need to show you this before we do a take, because you’ll just laugh at me, and it won’t be this romantic, sexy scene anymore.”

Newton also told the magazine that, unlike other scenes, the intimate scenes took multiple days to film. “Having that luxury meant there was no pressure. No ‘let’s go, let’s get on with it, let’s get to the next scene.’ It felt surprisingly relaxed.” This laidback attitude on set meant that the actors were able to save their energy for when the cameras were rolling — and boy, did they. Coughlan revealed in an Instagram post on June 13 that she and Newton got so into the mirror scene that they broke the chaise longue we see on screen!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the kind of chemistry you get when actors feel comfortable enough to play their intimate scenes with the dedication they deserve.

Fabiana Beuses is an entertainment journalist at Her Campus, where she interviews celebrities and professionally fangirls over pop culture phenomena. She previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at FSU and as Her Campus' Summer 2023 Entertainment & Culture Intern. She graduated from Florida State University with double majors in Media/Communication Studies and English (Editing, Writing, and Media) and a minor in Film Studies. When she's not polishing her latest article, you can find her browsing bookstore aisles, taste-testing vanilla lattes around town, or rewatching the Harry Potter series for the millionth time.