Did You Know Bridgerton's Will Mondrich Is Based On Real Person?
And his life was truly impressive.
- Shonda Rhimes' Bridgerverse is a fictional place, but the writers had some real-life inspirations when creating it.
- For example, the character of Will Mondrich was modeled after a real-life black British boxer and trainer.
- While the show changed some details of his life, Will inherited the athlete's character and attitude.
We all know that when Shonda Rhimes adapted Julia Quinn's Bridgerton romance series for Netflix, she made a lot of changes, the most important of which was the setting of the series.
Instead of placing her Bridgertons in real 19th-century London, Rhimes created her own fantasy universe where 'love has conquered racism' and people of all races can be members of the ton. Or is it really that fantasy-driven?
It seems that the idea of Rhimes' Bridgerverse came from the theory that Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was biracial and a few real-life cases when people of color managed to make their way into London high society despite all the discrimination and hardships.
For example, Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, is said to have been inspired by Nathaniel Wells, a rich and respected British landowner who was the son of a planter and an enslaved African woman.
On top of that, there is a newly created Bridgerton character who is based on, and even named after, a real person. As the title suggests, it is Will Mondrich.
Similarities & Differences
That's right, the arc of fan-favorite Bridgerton boxer and gentlemen's club owner Will Mondrich, played by Martins Imhangbe, was copied from the life of the very real British sports star, Bill Richmond, known in the boxing ring as the 'Black Terror.'
The show's creators never hid this fact. Even in naming the character, they changed Bill's name to Will and reversed the two syllables of the last name, making it 'Mond-rich' instead of 'Rich-mond'. But parts of Will's story were of course fictionalized and added to Bridgerton for dramatic effect.
Like Will, Bill was born in colonial America and moved to England to become a professional boxer. Richmond was born into slavery and noticed by a British army commander during a tavern brawl.
Impressed by the man's strength, the commander took Bill under his wing and organized entertaining fights with British soldiers. He later arranged for his freedom, move to England, and education.
Unlike Will, Bill began boxing professionally in his 40s and never gave up the sport completely. In the 1820s, after he was no longer able to participate in big fights and became an admired pugilist trainer, Richmond opened a boxing academy where he trained amateur boxers, some of whom are well known to you, such as William Hazlitt and Lord Byron.
Another big difference from Will's story is that Richmond was married to a white woman, Mary Dunwick, who was replaced in Bridgerton by the majestic Alice Mondrich (Emma Naomi). This became a cause for racist attitudes, which reportedly led to a number of brawls. Richmond was not going to allow anyone to insult him.
While Bridgerton left this horrible part of Bill's life off screen, Will has definitely inherited his self-respect and attitude. His help in uncovering Uncle Jack's scam in Season 2 proved that.
No wonder Will is such a likable character despite his past misdeeds, and we can't wait to see where his arc takes him in Season 3. Can you?