In his latest interview, elusive actor and star of Netflix’s Bridgerton Regé-Jean Page opened up about his perspective on the time he spent filming the series as his character Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, and how he feels not being a part of the hit show’s upcoming second season.
Despite being cast into the spotlight several months ago after Bridgerton instantly became the show that everyone was talking about — thanks to its diverse casting, steamy love scenes, and the complex social dynamics that its characters had to navigate — Page, 31, has remained fairly hidden from the public eye. Even in early April when fans got the shocking news that his character wouldn’t be returning for season two, we’d only heard rumblings from “a Hollywood source” that he made the decision to leave the show due to creative differences with the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes.
Published just hours ago, when discussing whether he was nervous about leaving the series, Page told Variety as their latest cover story, “Not at all, because that’s what was meant.”
“Simon was this bomb of a one-season antagonist, to be reformed and to find his true self through Daphne,” he additionally said. “I think one of the bravest things about the romance genre is allowing people a happy ending.”
Speaking further on his exit from the show, he likened it to like when one worries about whether they’ll make new friends after high school. Still, he seemed hopeful. Page told the outlet, “You’re afraid of the unknown, thinking, ‘Oh, my God, I’m never going to make friends as good as the ones I have,’ and then you do.”
The actor also talked about how despite some fans of Julia Quinn’s best-selling romance novels — those of which inspired the Netflix show — not being happy with his casting in the role, he feels as though him playing Simon was a step in the right direction regarding representation in Hollywood overall.
“Me and my friends used to joke about the fact that you don’t see a Black man on a horse,” Page said. “I didn’t think it was possible, and that’s my mistake for not believing in that and not accepting my own responsibility to make it possible through what we do as actors. I’m pleased that I’ve taken a couple of good first steps into what seems to be an ever-widening pool of possibility, and long may that continue.”
“It’s so simple,” he added. “I can get on a horse and I can put it on the screen; that’s step one. I can be royalty, and [other people of color] can see the possibility of being royalty. Standing there, wearing the boots and the jacket, doing the dances, inhabiting a space that is perfectly possible for me to inhabit, changes how you see the world.”
If you’re pining over when you’ll see the British-Zimbabwean actor in another role, Page is currently set to star in The Gray Man alongside Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling, and in Paramount’s upcoming Dungeons & Dragons. Rumors are even swirling that he might be the next James Bond.
Concerning his approach to his new roles in the aftermath of playing Simon Basset, Page told Variety, “I want everything I do to be as sexy as Bridgerton, just in different ways.”