Queen Charlotte star Sam Clemmett opens up about gay love story and ‘very physical’ sex scenes

Gay couple Reynolds (Freddie Dennis) and Brimsley (Sam Clemmett) in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

Queen Charlotte star Sam Clemmett has opened up about the gay love story between Brimsley and his lover Reynolds – including their graphic sex scenes.

Based on the best-selling book series by Julia Quinn, Netflix’s Bridgerton spin-off Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story has made waves recently for its bold storylines and powerful acting, not least for its major LGBTQ+ romance between Young Brimsley (Sam Clemmett), Queen Charlotte’s trusty butler, and Reynolds (Freddie Dennis), his counterpart in the service of King George III.

The LGBTQ+ representation in the extended Bridgerton universe, which has previously been criticised for queerbaiting and exclusive heterosexuality, has been praised by fans for not only offering a captivating love story but also giving a powerful depiction of queer intimacy, with several explicit sex scenes scattered throughout the series.

The main Bridgerton series is known for making passionate sex a major focus of every season and its spin-off is no different. In an interview with Radio Times, Clemmett revealed that although the sex scenes were “heavily choreographed”, he and Dennis were committed to making them “as real as possible” – so much so that they actually sustained injuries.

“There were several times when we had to stop because I was like, ‘OK, what I’ve done there is I’ve hurt Freddie’s back because I’ve thrown him against the desk way too hard’,” Clemmett recalled.

Since both Brimsley and Reynolds are the closest servants to the newly married king and queen, they spend their time exchanging information and scheming about how to get the monarchs to fall in love with each other. Their scenes, then, aren’t just about their personal relationship, but tactics too.

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“Unlike a lot of the other intimate scenes within the show, it’s not just two people being very physical with one another,” Clemmett continued. “There’s also a power play going on within the scene, there’s two-and-a-half pages of dialogue.

Brimsley and Reynolds in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
Brimsley (l) and Reynolds in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. (Nick Wall/Netflix)

“The layers to our scene, which I think is utterly brilliant, also made it 10 times harder on set because me and Freddie were going: ‘Right, not only have we got to nail the choreography and make sure we get the truth of this moment physically, I’ve got to get information from you’.”

Clemmett added that although shooting the sex scene made for “one of the most nerve-wracking days on set”, the presence of an intimacy coordinator helped to create “such a respectful and comfortable environment”.

Being “intimate and vulnerable” on set, he added, meant that he had to get to grips with having his body on display in front of the production crew.

“You’re like: ‘This is my body, this is what I look like and I’ve got to be OK with it’,” he explained. “One of the nice things for me about that experience is I’ve never been completely in love with my body, but I feel less body conscious now. Weirdly, it was quite a liberating experience for me”.

Clemmett was keen to emphasise that Brimsley and Reynolds’ relationship was about more than just sex because they are “multifaceted characters”, and hopes people feel empowered watching their relationship play out on screen.

“We want to understand these people in their truest form,” he said. “So we didn’t want it to just be a case of, right, let’s just throw loads of sex scenes into this and that’s that. It’s more than that.

“We want to see this relationship living to its full potential, alongside all of these other relationships within the show, and that’s one of the things that I feel very empowered about having made it – we get the sexual desire and we get the emotional side of these two characters.”

Queen Charlotte
Sam Clemmett as Young Brimsley, Freddie Dennis as Reynolds in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (Netflix)

Queen Charlotte is split into two timelines, the first in 1761 where Brimsley and Reynolds are thriving, and the other in 1817, where only older Brimsley (played by Hugh Sachs) is still present, while Reynolds is mysteriously absent.

His disappearance is never explicitly addressed although there is one heartbreaking scene that cuts from a young Brimsley and Reynolds dancing together in the moonlight, to older Brimsley dancing alone, without the love his life.

Fans are not the only ones confused about the absence with Dennis joking in an interview with Buzzfeed News: “Reynolds is on holiday in the Maldives, sipping on a mojito. That’s what we keep constantly saying, but, ultimately, we don’t know.”

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is available to stream now on Netflix.