Before booking the role of King George in “Queen Charlotte,” Corey Mylchreest had never watched an episode of “Bridgerton.”
“It had just passed me by, I think partly because maybe I’m not the demographic that it’s aimed at,” says the British actor.
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He’s certainly well acquainted with the world now, as are many others viewers. The young actor is one of the leads of the new Netflix series, a “Bridgerton” prequel which quickly emerged as the streamer’s top show during its first week of release. Another first-week metric to clock: Mylchreest’s Instagram following went from well under 100,000 to more than half a million in that same time period.
“It’s been such a long-awaited thing for all of us,” says Mylchreest, who was in New York for press the day before the release. “There’s loads of anxieties about starting in the industry and having something that’s really big be your first job and what that’ll be like — and, you know, how that’ll change your personal life,” he adds. “But then also, you wanna do a great job and you wanna do the story justice, do the people that you research justice and give them a voice, and not go too far and disrupt the fans of preexisting ‘Bridgerton.’ Professionally and personally, it’s been this weight. Now it’s out there, and it’s a relief because it confirms the fact that I have no control over anything.”
Mylchreest graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in spring 2020: not a prime time for launching an entertainment career. All things considered, the young actor was lucky; he already had an agent before the lockdown. Prior to booking “Queen Charlotte,” he starred in a couple of short films, and had a “one day, four lines” role on another Netflix series, “The Sandman.”
“Being part of the ‘Bridgeton’ world, the best thing was the people, from top down,” says Mylchreest. “In terms of the project, playing George, he is such a complicated, complex, dynamic, sporadic, spontaneous character,” he adds. “It was a brilliant eight months of trying to give that man a voice.”
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Mylchreest, who prepared for the role by diving into historical research including documentaries, podcasts and several biographies, also found an entry into George’s psyche via costuming. “I remember thinking, wow, as an actor, I’ve gotta really work on my relationship with these clothes. Because I don’t believe that I’m king at all,” he says of his initial sartorial encounter.
“And then I realized, actually, here’s a man who hates the idea of being king. He doesn’t like it, he feels completely uncomfortable all the time,” Mylchreest continues, adding that he realized that George’s formal clothing was emblematic of the pressure and duty that he struggled with as king. “And so every time he puts these on, of course he’s gonna be uncomfortable,” he adds. “He prefers being in the field with a shirt and some shorts on. He’s not the man that feels comfortable in the heels and the stockings. So actually that made me feel closer [to him]. It felt like a little tiny handshake with the guy.”
Mylchreest is currently on camera in his hotel room wearing a baseball hat and T-shirt — a casual press moment that isn’t being visually recorded. For his recent red carpet appearances, the young actor worked with stylist Holly White, an experience that he describes as “very enlightening.” Asked to name a favorite recent look, Mylchreest recalls the Givenchy suit that he wore to the Los Angeles premiere. “It had a little padlock at the side, which was quite cool. Everyone kept going, ‘nice suit,’ and I went, ‘it’s got a padlock.’”
The actor celebrated his 25th birthday earlier this week, just a few days after the show’s May 4 premiere. As if the debut of his first major screen project wasn’t gift enough, the actor had something else in mind to mark the occasion upon his return to London.
“I have go-karting to look forward to as soon as I get back,” he says, adding that his professional plans beyond that are more up in the air. “Creatively and professionally, I’m not quite sure,” he adds. “But we’ll see what comes with the wave.”
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