Meet James Bradwell, 'Pinoy' lord on Netflix's 'Bridgerton' 2
James Bradwell in 'Bridgerton.' Photo from Bradwell's Instagram page
Culture

Meet James Bradwell, 'Pinoy' lord on Netflix's 'Bridgerton'

James Bradwell originally auditioned for Season 2 of “Bridgerton,” but did not get into the Netflix hit until the third season of the period series.
Leah C. Salterio | Jun 07 2024

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

“I didn’t get to visit Naga early this year,” Bradwell told ANCX. “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.”

Bradwell originally auditioned for Season 2 of “Bridgerton,” but did not get into the Netflix hit until the third season of the period series.

James Bradwell in 'Bridgerton.' Photo from Bradwell's Instagram page
James Bradwell in 'Bridgerton.' Photo from Bradwell's Instagram page

“I auditioned for a general Lord character in 2022,” Bradwell recalled. “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 Bradwell pitched the names he suggested, the production picked Basilio, one of the more prominent characters in Jose Rizal’s novel, “Noli Me Tangere.”

“When I researched, I wanted a name that had high status,” Bradwell said. “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 Bradwell’s first dedicated Netflix project and he cannot be more thankful.

James Bradwell in 'Bridgerton.' Photo from Bradwell's Instagram page
James Bradwell in 'Bridgerton.' Photo from Bradwell's Instagram page

“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, Bradwell was about to walk into a performance of “My Fair Lady” in the West End in London.

“I was supporting a friend of mine who was in the cast of ‘My Fair Lady’,” Bradwell 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,” said Bradwell. “That was a record-breaking heat, but nothing on how the temperature reaches in Manila, of course.”

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,” Bradwell said.  

Bradwell 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,” Bradwell said. “I will just keep on auditioning and take in what comes.”

Off stage, Bradwell gets to walk his neighbor’s dog. “I enjoy doing that. I’m taking him out in the morning. So I’m going to walk with him to the park.”

 James Bradwell, Vannessa White and James Cooney in 'Betrayal.' Jeeves de Veyra
James Bradwell, Vannessa White and James Cooney in 'Betrayal.' Jeeves de Veyra

Bradwell enjoyed the two-months he was here in Manila, when he did Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” for Repertory Philippines.

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

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

“Bridgerton” Season 3 airs eight episodes on Netflix. The second half airs on June 13.