Get to know the Filipino actors in ‘Bridgerton’

Mayfair’s posh society is refreshing its roster with Filipino representation this season. In the first two episodes of Season 3, viewers are introduced to Filipino actors James Bradwell as Lord Basilio and Martin Sarreal as Lord Barnell, marking the debut of Filipino nobility in the hit Netflix series “Bridgerton.”

Filipino actors (from left) Martin Sarreal and Jimbo Bradwell in “Bridgerton” season 3

Bradwell was originally slated to play a character of East Asian heritage. However, the actor seized the opportunity to propose incorporating his own Filipino roots into the role. In a social media post, Bradwell shared, “I was met with an enthusiastic response welcoming and encouraging my input. I suggested a number of Filipino surnames and Basilio was born! (Maybe Basilio of Bicol? The Viscount of Visayas? The Lord of Longganisa?)”

In a hilarious scene rife with awkward tension, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) approaches Lord Basilio to demonstrate her social prowess and ability to converse casually with potential suitors—all in an attempt to impress Colin Bridgerton.

However, the exchange takes an unexpected turn when the aristocratic Lord, standing at the refectory table, abruptly breaks down in tears, lamenting the loss of his beloved horse. Bradwell’s portrayal of the emotionally distraught Lord contrasts with Penelope’s flustered discomfort, creating a delightfully cringeworthy moment that will leave viewers in stitches.

Meanwhile, Sarreal writes on Instagram, “Had loads of fun stepping into Lord Barnell’s shoes (and sticking on those sideburns) on a wonderful job jam packed with fantastic people… There are now officially TWO Pinoys in the ‘Bridgerton’ universe. What more can you truly ask for?” he adds, tagging Bradwell in his post. 

Sarreal debuts as Lord Barnell, witnessing Penelope Featherington’s attempts to shed her wallflower persona at a ball. Donning daring fashions, the hapless Penelope stumbles through more cringeworthy social blunders and stilted banter at the ball. Lord Barnell observes with expressions moving between confusion and second-hand embarrassment, amplifying the humiliation and the ton’s unforgiving scrutiny. 

On requesting more Filipino representation on the show, Bradwell wrote, “This exchange was that I was made to feel like a collaborator on my role, not a beggar at the door as these conversations can sometimes feel in this industry. Thank you @shondaland and @bridgertonnetflix for dignifying me in that way.”

The inclusive move adds to the people of color in the already-diversified historical drama while also opening doors for more Filipino talents in the British film industry, and “Bridgerton’s” fictional, multicultural high society.