Leah Salterio

Fil-Brit James Bradwell plays Filipino character in Bridgerton Season 3

June 14, 2024 Leah C. Salterio 92 views

BRITISH-Filipino actor James Bradwell was only four when he first came to the Philippines. With a very vague recollection of his hometown Naga City in Camarines Sur, he returned to the Philippines only early this year, when he was tapped by director Victor Lirio to do Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal,’ a three-hander for Repertory Philippines.

“I didn’t get to visit Naga early this year,” James lamented. “My two castmates in Betrayal – Vanessa White and James Cooney – they got to see their families in Davao. I stayed in Manila.

“My lola lives in Bacoor (Cavite), so I went down there. I sort of kept a tight schedule. When I started work, I really focused on work. I didn’t have much time even after the job to explore. But we did all the sight-seeing in Manila. We visited Intramuros and the museums.”

James enjoyed the two-months he was here in Manila for ‘Betrayal.’

“It was such a lovely time for me as an artist, spending two months here, from start of rehearsals to the final show,” James allowed. “I’ll be back very soon.

“If I have any power at all, I’d love to start some conversations about another project (in the Philippines) any time.”

To be part of the cast of the Regency-era England revisited with its London palaces and Bath ballrooms in ‘Bridgerton,’ is indeed a great honor for James, who is now part of Season 3.

James originally auditioned for Season 2 of Bridgerton, but did not get into the Netflix mega hit until the third season that started last May 16. He plays Lord Basilio in the series.

“I auditioned for a general Lord character in 2022,” James shared. “It has been a while. It has been bubbling though my brain. I need to remind myself it happened.

“I was offered a Lord with a different name, but I asked if I can change his name to represent my Filipino heritage. I’m so glad that the team were all for it. They listened to my ideas.”

When James pitched the names he suggested, the production picked Basilio, an origin that is very close to the Jose Rizal history. Basilio is one of the prominent characters in Rizal’s novel, ‘Noli Me Tangere.’

“When I researched, I wanted a name that had high status,” James disclosed. “Basilio came from the Greek that means royalty. The name reflects a high status in his origin. I’m so, so glad they responded positively.”

Bridgerton is James’ first dedicated Netflix project and he cannot be more thankful.

“I did a very short scene in the Netflix comedy, ‘Back To Life.’ That was for BBC and was also on Netflix for a bit. But ‘Bridgerton’ is my first Netflix, flagship project.”

When he got the Lord Basilio role, James was about to walk into a performance of ‘My Fair Lady’ on the West End in London.

“I was supporting a friend of mine who was in the cast of My Fair Lady,” James recalled. “I got a call in the afternoon before the evening show. I was asked to go straight into costume the next day for ‘Bridgerton.’

“They needed to COVID-test me. So a man on a motorbike was sent on the road, on the spot, to swab me on the street before I went to see ‘My Fair Lady.’ Luckily, I was negative.

“That was a bit of a whirlwind from a phone call, getting cast and suddenly being on the set a few days later.”

‘Bridgerton’ was shot in July 2022, the “hottest day in the UK,” according to James. “That was a record-breaking heat, but nothing on how the temperature reaches in Manila, of course,” said the actor, who was in the Philippines early this year.

He auditioned for ‘Bridgerton’ while in a dressing room of doing a play in Liverpool, ‘Corrina, Corrina,’ by Chloe Moss. He played Filipino seafarer, Angelo Andrada, alongside Martin Sarreal as Rafael and Angelo Paragoso as Rizal. The latter is currently on tour playing “Aladdin” in the UK.

“We were playing three Filipino seafarers in a very politically modern play about what happens at sea and the rights of workers,” James offered.

He will start rehearsals next week for a Shakespeare play, “As You Like It,” to be staged in Oxford.

“I’m about to embark on that until August and who knows what will happen after that,” James said. “I will just keep on auditioning and take in what comes.”

‘Bridgerton Season 3’ airs eight episodes on Netflix. The second half starts airing by June 13.

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