The author behind the steamy Bridgerton series has revealed that Shonda Rhimes offered to adapt the historical romance novels into a Netflix show after she ‘stumbled on’ one of them while on vacation.
Julia Quinn, who published the first book in the series, The Duke and I, in 2000, admitted during a recent appearance on the Tamron Hall Show that she was stunned when she learned the famous producer wanted to turn her novels into a TV series.
‘It came out of nowhere,’ she said. ‘I was just sitting there as one does, pretending to write in a Starbucks, and my phone rang and it was my agent and he said, “Have you heard of Shonda Rhimes?” And I just kind of went, “Uh, yes.” He said, “Well, I just had the most interesting call.”‘
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Candid: Bridgerton author Julia Quinn opened up about the adaptation of her romance novels and how she started writing during a recent appearance on the Tamron Hall Show
Success: Bridgerton has become Netflix’s most-watched series after reaching 82 million households in just 28 days
‘I practically fell off the stool, ’cause nobody was adapting romance novels,’ she continued. ‘People will ask me, “How did you sell it?” and I’ll say, “I didn’t do anything!”‘
Quinn explained that it was pure luck that Rhimes came across the series and decided to adapt it for television.
‘The way I understand it, Shonda ran out of books to read on vacation and somehow stumbled on one of mine,’ she said. ‘It’s crazy to think that my life is forever changed because Shonda didn’t bring enough reading material on vacation, but that’s honestly what happened.’
Bridgerton has gone from overnight success to becoming Netflix’s most-watched series after reaching 82 million households in just 28 days.
Big break: The author published the first of eight books in the series in 2000 and admitted she was shocked when her agent called to tell her Shonda Rhimes was interested in adapting
Amazing: Quinn explained that Rhimes came across one of her books on vacation, saying her ‘life is forever changed’ because the producer ‘didn’t bring enough reading material’
The period drama was recently renewed for a second season, and showrunner Chris Van Dusen has hinted that it could go on for eight — one for each of the Bridgerton children.
Bridgerton has been lauded for its diverse cast, which Quinn said she learned about when they sent her the list of the show’s stars. She noted that the series is just as diverse behind the camera, something she is grateful for.
As for the show’s pulse-racing sex scenes, Quinn insisted it’s the change in perspective that has people talking, not the actions.
‘I don’t think that technically the scenes are actually much more intimate or explicit than other stuff we are seeing on television or in the movies,’ she said. ‘I think the difference is being shown from a more female-centric gaze.
A welcomed change: Bridgerton has been lauded for its diverse cast, which Quinn said she learned about when they sent her the list of the show’s stars
Seeing stars: Quinn struck a pose on set with Claudia Jessie and Nicola Coughlan, who play Eloise Brigderton and Penelope Featherington, respectively
‘That makes it feel sexier to us, certainly to us as women,’ she added. ‘Finally we get to look at things the way we want to.’
Quinn also revealed in the interview that she was eating Ben & Jerry’s and studying to be a doctor when she decided to start writing romance novels.
‘I think a lot of 21, 22-year-old people they have no idea what they want to do with life. I’m eating this tub of ice cream and I’m thinking, “You know maybe I’ll be a doctor,”‘ she recalled.
However, before going to medical school, she needed to take classes to meet the requirements.
Modern: Quinn told Hall that people think Bridgeton’s intimate scenes are sexier than most because they are shown through a ‘female-centric gaze,’ not because they are more explicit
Incredible: Quinn recalled how she was eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and studying to be a doctor when she decided to start writing romance novels decades ago
Success: Quinn penned three series before she started writing about the Bridgerton family over two decades ago
‘I was going to need to take a couple years to do that and so I wasn’t going to be able to get a full-time job. I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll try to write a book,”‘ she explained.
Quinn loved to read romance novels, so her genre of choice was a no-brainer.
‘While I was taking organic chemistry and physics and all that stuff I started writing my first book,’ she said.
The author penned three series before she started writing about the Bridgerton family over two decades ago.
Hall joked at the end of the interview that Ben & Jerry’s should name one of its ice cream flavors after the series.
‘Oh my gosh,’ Quinn said. ‘That would be like the pinnacle of my career if that happened.’