Who is Brian Nickels, and why was 'Bridgerton' dedicated to him?
Brian “Sonny” Nickels was a stunt coordinator who was a popular figure on the set of the period piece: Many of the Bridgerton cast and crew members have paid tribute to him recently.
The stunt star died suddenly in January 2020 following a cardiac arrest at his home in London, England. He is survived by his wife, Simone, and his two young children, Sienna and Rocco.
A GoFundMe campaign set up the following month raised £35,227 — over $47,000 — for Simone and the kids.
“He was one of the hardest working men ever. Ever,” Simone told Yahoo! Movies at the time, opening up about her late husband. “And he lived to make other people happy. It’s all he wanted to do. He didn’t take any day for granted. Every day he had, he lived it to the fullest. But he was also very charitable. He would never save or keep money. He’d just do whatever he could to help people.”
He had many credits to his name.
Brian’s filmography lists dozens of films and TV shows for which he did stunt work — including the movies The Mummy Returns, The Phantom of the Opera, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Spectre, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and the series Band of Brothers, Game of Thrones, Deep State, and Killing Eve.
The former professional boxer was also a stunt performer on The Bourne Ultimatum and Jason Bourne, and Matt Damon gave him a shout-out in a behind-the-scenes featurette for the latter film.
“I rarely get hit, but I’m always accidentally hitting someone,” the actor said. “My deal with these guys is that I always buy them a bottle of champagne for any time I’ve hit them. So, Brian, for instance, got a case of champagne at the end of the fight.”
The ‘Bridgerton’ team has sung Brian’s praises.
Martins Imhangbe, who plays Will Monarch on Bridgerton, eulogized Brian on Instagram after the stunt coordinator’s death.
“Brian, immensely grateful that our paths crossed and for the dynamic and positive impact you’ve had in my life for the past months,” Martins wrote. “You’ve always had my corner and filled me with uber-confidence on and off set with your infectious enthusiasm and passion for what you do — you’ve been an incredible coach and friend.”
He added: “Struggling to accept that you’re no longer here with us, and my heart goes out to the family. You are a legend and a gent who will never be forgotten — rest in love and peace.”
Stuntman Sofian Francis also spoke highly of Brian on Instagram, posting photos of himself and Brian working on Bridgerton.
“I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with our late, great friend @brian.sonny.nickels on this shoot,” Sofian wrote. “Brian was so enthusiastic on this set and put everything into it. He was always the biggest character in the room, and I’m so glad I got to do this with him.”