ELLE Nederland (Roughly translated from Dutch)
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From season 3, Hannah Dodd will play the role of Francesca Bridgerton, the young and somewhat mysterious sister in the Bridgerton clan

May 21, 2024   |   Written by Pim Spoor

When it is announced in May 2022 that Hannah Dodd would take over the role of Francesca Bridgerton from Ruby Stokes, she shared the news on Instagram with the caption: ‘Terrified. I’m going to do my best, I promise.’ Almost two years later, she seems to have made the role completely her own and she plays the piano as easily and moves as effortlessly in Regency dresses as she skips carefree through the lawn of Parc Broekhuizen during the shoot.

Do you still find it as scary as it was two years ago?

‘I remember being so nervous when I got the part. But as soon as I walked onto the set, I noticed that everyone was very warm and welcomed me. You keep that nervousness a bit, but that helps too. It keeps you on your toes. We shot the scene where you see Francesca for the first time in season 3 on the second day. The whole family looks for her while she quietly plays the piano in Bridgerton House, and Johnny (Jonathan Bailey, ed) had to fight back from laughing when he heard me play and at the same time had to say how good it sounded. The ice was broken immediately.’

So you’re not a piano virtuoso like Francesca?

“Not even a little. I did take piano lessons, but I only learned the pieces, rather than actually learning to read and play music. My piano teacher didn’t understand how I played without looking at the music, but it’s kind of like dancing with your fingers. I expected to remember those dances as a fun party trick, but as soon as we finished the scene I forgot about the piece again.’

You are a trained dancer. Are we going to see you in your element on screen?

‘Bridgerton wouldn’t be Bridgerton without a big ball or two. We discussed whether Francesca is a good dancer or not. I see her as a very diligent student, someone who works hard to be good. Whether that’s dancing or playing the piano, or when she enters the marriage market and has to find a husband.’

Francesca is a practical girl.

‘Precisely. “Mommy wants me to get married, then I’ll get married. As long as he’s nice,” she tells herself. The dynamic between Francesca and Lady Bridgerton is interesting to see, because Violet allows her children to marry for love and to feel the love she once shared with her husband. But Francesca has a mission and wants to complete it as quickly as possible to make her mother happy.’

Do you and Francesca look alike?

‘I can respond quite quickly to people, while Francesca tends to wait and see before speaking out. I want to solve a problem immediately, while Francesca takes a step back to assess the situation from a distance. At the same time, we are both shy when we are in large groups. We also both love the little things in life, they keep us grounded. Going into nature, they play the piano, I dance.’

What do you prefer to spend your time on?

‘Oh, food is my hobby. Cooking, eating with friends, it’s my favorite way to spend my time. Through my dance training, I have many friends who have now become instructors. I was trained in theater dance, but I also learned jazz, ballet, tap, you name it. I am and remain a jazz girlie, but unfortunately I don’t dance often enough anymore. I sometimes take a dance lesson or book a personal training session with my study friends.’

In the shoot you posed in cool looks from Dior and Vivienne Westwood. Do you like fashion?

‘Yes, I love it. I first did modeling when I was fifteen years old. I really love fashion shoots and the creativity it takes to portray fashion in that way. At such moments you can try designs and silhouettes that you would normally not see on the street. It’s not very fashionable to say, but on a normal day I want to feel good and comfortable. During a shoot you can put all that aside and completely immerse yourself in the fashion.’

Do you still find it scary now that filming is over?

‘Now that the third season is coming out, I feel the itch again. I’m very curious to see what people will think. Also the press tour, all the interviews, the red carpet, it’s a completely new experience for me. I hope viewers get to know Francesca better. That there are people who recognize themselves in her and what she is going through. And the fans of the books know what the story has in store for her, so I’m especially curious what they will think about it.’