‘Bridgerton’ queer heartthrob James Phoon dishes on filming the show’s “first funny sex scene”

‘Bridgerton’ queer heartthrob James Phoon dishes on filming the show’s “first funny sex scene”

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Image Credit: Instagram, @jamesphoon_

The most recent, third season of Bridgerton has given its gay fans many gifts: The series’ first queer love triangle, the rumblings of a new sapphic affair, and, well, any time the hunky Jonathan Bailey is on screen.

However, this time around, Bailey wasn’t the only LGBTQ+ star of the ‘Ton who had our knickers in a twist…

Season three of the Regency era romance introduced viewers to harmless himbo Harry Dankworth, the dashing yet doltish new husband of Prudence Featherington (Bessie Carter), played by rising queer star James Phoon.

The role represents a real breakthrough moment for the Brighton-born actor, who was previously best known for his work in the London theater scene and his recurring role on BBC Three’s darkly comedic whodunit Wreck.

But being part of one of Netflix‘s most popular series ever brings with it a whole new level of fame. It’s certainly been an adjustment for Phoon, though it sounds like he’s making the most of his spotlight:

“There is so much work to do,” he recently told The Bay Area Reporter, reflecting on the precarious sociopolitical climate for the worldwide LGBTQ+ community. “Things can regress so quickly. I welcome any platform that can be used to prevent that.”

For one, merely being visible as an out, queer performer of East-Asian heritage can make all the difference—especially when you’re showing up in a TV series as massive as Bridgerton.

“Just because we haven’t heard about them before, and because the story and the spotlight hasn’t been on them, it doesn’t mean they didn’t exist,” Phoon shared, speaking broadly of underrepresented stories in media. “It just means we didn’t know about them, and I think it’s really important to show that.”

The 30-year-old actor has been out his entire professional career (since “about 13 or 14”) and recognizes his queer identity as an important part of who he is. While, recently, actors like Matt Bomer have come forward about how their sexuality has hurt their chances of landing certain roles, Phoon considers himself grateful to have not encountered that same kind of homophobia.

“At least not directly, as far as I can tell,” he shared with The Bay Area Reporter. “I know a lot of actors are urged not to be openly gay, but I haven’t experienced any such pressure.”

James Phoon & Bessie Carter in ‘Bridgerton’ | Image Credit: Netflix

And surely Bridgerton‘s Harry Dankworth is proof that the industry is moving in a more progressive, open-minded direction. While the series has explored a few characters’ queer awakenings in the most recent season, Harry remains happily—if awkwardly—wedded to Prudence.

The opportunity to play a straight role is not lost on Phoon, who believes sexuality shouldn’t matter when it comes to casting parts: “That’s why it’s called acting. You’re playing something other than yourself.”

And, actually, the latest episodes of Bridgerton gave Phoon the opportunity to be a part of another very important “first” for the series: He and co-star Bessie Carter—whose characters fans have dubbed “Prudank”—got to film the series’ “first funny sex scene.”

In an interview for Shondaland, the scene partners opened up about filming the “comedy version” of the show’s typically “steamy, sexy, hot, romantic thing,” which speaks to the fact that neither of their characters really would be experienced in the sack.

“Sex is awkward, and sex is vulnerable” Carter shared. “So, I think it was important to play the truth of that whilst knowing deep inside that it is really funny.”

Phoon seems to have had no problem getting intimate on camera, but he did remark that it was quite “bizarre” to watch back—especially as a lifelong Mary Poppins fan: “Did you ever think that you would be filmed having sex while Julie Andrews narrates what you are doing?”

We already know a fourth season of Bridgerton is on the way, so whether that means more bizzare sexual misadventures are on the way for Harry Dankworth or not, we’re just excited for the opportunity to see more of James Phoon on our screens.

Phoon can be seen in Bridgerton Season 3, now streaming on Netflix, and Wreck Seasons 1 & 2, streaming on Hulu. Scroll down below for a few more of our favorite shots from his Instagram:

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