- Full Name Regé-Jean Page
- Birthplace London, England
Regé-Jean Page | Biography 2021Actor
An English-Zimbabwean actor, Regé-Jean Page, rose to fame for his lead role in Netflix's original period drama Bridgerton (2020), where he starred as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings.
An English-Zimbabwe actor, infamous for his lead role in Bridgerton (2020).
Who is Rege Jean Page?
Page is prominently known for starring in the most-watched Netflix series of the season Bridgerton (2020).
Initially, he always had an interest in acting but did not pursue it till he came across the London Drama Center. He auditioned twice before getting into drama school and started his career in the theatre plays during his final year of college. Gradually, he bagged small roles to recurring roles in movies and television series such as Waterloo Road (2015), Survivor (2015), Roots (2016), For the People (2018-2019).
His breakthrough act was in the Netflix series Bridgerton (2020), he portrayed the role of Simon Basset who has recently returned to London and has no interest in taking a wife or marrying and getting caught in the societal levies; comes across Daphne Bridgerton, played by Phoebe Dynevor, and spirals down the web of love, friendship, societal values, and novelty.
The series was a wide success, having gained more than 82 million views within a month of its release. Page got nominated for Screen Actors Guild Award 2021, Satellite Awards 2021, and won the Image Awards (NAACP) Outstanding Actor 2021.
Page was born in 1990, to a Zimbabwean mother and an English father in London England. His mother was a nurse while his father was a preacher. He is the second child of his four siblings. He spent his childhood in Harare, Zimbabwe, and then moved to London at the age of 14 for secondary education.
While he was growing up, Zimbabwe had gained independence from the British colonization not very long ago, and as his father was a British national the echoes of colonial rule along with his mixed-race crafted his identity differently than other of his age. He talked about realizing his position in society on multiple occasions, “I spent my whole life figuring out how to be different people… I learned from the age of three that I was a walking political statement. Just by walking around with my face, I was saying, ‘My parents did a fairly revolutionary thing that [annoys] some of you.”
When he was young, he used to be a drummer in a punk band called TUNYA with his brother Tose. He wrote songs and sang in the band in his teenage years, his brother went on to independently produce music and collaborations in the future.
“We were writing loud, angry, righteous guitar music and screaming at people with various colors in our hair,” he recalled, “When I got involved in the punk scene, my notion of what a career was changed, I realized that a career in the arts was actually about having the people and community to support you making your art.”
Although he was interested in acting from the age of 14 and pursued it as a hobby during the weekends; he joined the university to study sound engineering as a compromise to his interest and his mom, “It was halfway between a science for my mum and an art for me.” But then while at the university, he discovered the British National Youth Theatre which diverted his attention, “It was the first time I’d ever been in a room with a group of kids who took acting as seriously as I did and went as deep as I wanted to go… and I pretty much immediately ran away from university to be an actor.”
Then he auditioned for the London Drama Centre for two years, he got in and graduated in 2013. One of his professors of the Drama Centre recalled him as, “My memory is of someone elegant, charming and ferociously intelligent. As he started to work it became evident that he was determined not to rest on the qualities he had for free but was set on really finding out what he was capable of as an actor. He worked incredibly hard.”
Technically, he knew he was in acting before he joined drama school; he participated in a school play, was a role of a Little Drummer Boy in the school’s nativity play. Then, he had a vague idea that there was a career in acting but did not indulge it afterward.
So, after joining drama school, in his final year, he acted in theatre plays; Michael Longhurst's The History Boys at the Sheffield Crucible. Then in 2014, he starred in a TV movie Space Ark.
Briefly, in 2010, he appeared in the blockbuster Harry Potter movie series. He was on the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010), momentarily he appeared behind Hermione during Bill and Fleur’s wedding when the Shacklebolt’s Patronus arrived to warn the guests.
Then in 2015, he had a recurring role in tv-series Waterloo Road, followed by James McTeague’s Survivor (2015).
Then in 2016, he acted in, mini-series Roots, which was a remake on the History Channel of a 1977 mini-series. It focused on the horrors of the US slavery system and its other legacies. It was a prominent role in his career then, “Roots was a massive responsibility because it is this foundational text in the States and it also resonates fairly strongly with pretty much any black community globally… was made to watch this as a kid in Zimbabwe because this is a global history – one that we are still reckoning with, even if the British can try to detach themselves from that legacy of colonialism and slavery.”
Then in the same year, he did a theatre play alongside Jonathan Pryce in Jonathan Munby's version of Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare's Globe. On the performance of the play, Page share that during one of his shows he had to improvise due to the absence of a letter which was an important object of the scene. He expressed the need for improvisation and understanding through teamwork to make the play look good, “The play only works if, when I forget the letter, you pick it up and improve it on. Otherwise, I don’t look bad, everyone looks fucking bad. The play doesn’t happen. Which is not a bad lesson to take into life in general. Even on TV, it’s the same thing: it’s this massive almost socialist machine.”
Further in 2018-19, he appeared in the movie, Mortal Engines, then as a recurring cast in the ABC-produced TV series For the People.
In February 2021, he made his hosting debut in NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL). Page showed his singing talents at the end of the show, swooning the audience with his melody and with jokes on Briderton.
Meanwhile, in 2019, Page was set as the lead cast of a Netflix series Bridgerton. It was an adaptation of a regency novel by Julia Quinn titled The Duke and I. The book was a huge success, Quinn intended to write only three books revolving around the Bridgerton family, but the readers desired more stories on the family eventually making it an eight-book series, viz. The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer from A Gentleman, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, To Sir Phillip, With Love, When He Was Wicked, It’s In His Kiss, and On The Way to the Wedding.
The plot of the series was set between 1813 and 1827, featuring a family of the late Viscount Bridgerton and his eight children; Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. The story in the series was narrated by Lady Whistledown, portrayed by Julie Andrews, through her society paper. Page was selected to play the lead role of Duke of Hasting, Simon Bassett who has recently returned to London has no interest in getting married or taking a wife and does not prefer getting caught in the societal levies. While, Phoebe Dynevor was on the opposite role of Page, on the part of Daphne Bridgerton the eldest daughter of the family who is hoping to find a suitable husband on the London High Society but is impressed by none from the society. The story unravels when Daphne and Simon meet, and they pretend to be in a fake relationship for the sake, while eventually falling in love with each other.
After knowing he was hired for the lead cast, he did his own research, in his words, “As soon as I knew I got the job, I read the book so that I could very quickly forget the book. And then I had loads and loads of conversations with the wardrobe department,…We talked a lot about Simon being in Byron-ic collars because he is this Byron-ic type of hero…and how the necklines would be different and how Byron had this jewel he wore with like a token from maybe a lover or a loved one, or maybe he is was just being a bit prince-like and mysterious…That translates in the clothes and from the clothes then comes back to developing the character. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it starts with the shoes. You walk out in someone else’s shoes, and I like to do that quite literally. The first thing I do on a job is asking for the shoes or the boots so I can walk around them at home while I’m working and build from the ground up.”
Page practically viewed his role of Simon as an advanced character, he defined the drama with a hint of modernization, he said, “You realize that these characters are dealing with very 21st-century problems in the show; people have always had the same desires and needs, no matter whether it’s 200 years ago or now, it’s just dressed up in different clothes and shaped by different societal restrictions. We’re seeing this Regency romance through a feminist lens, examining what masculinity means for a broken antihero like my character and how he can then allow himself to change and be loved.”
Page further added, “One of the most exciting things about this project was to deconstruct what’s perceived as masculine strength because that's a conversation we're having right now. We're asking what masculinity is, and a lot of it is letting go of this constant projection of dominance. Simon holds an utterly self-destructive grudge, and the only way to defeat that is to release vulnerability. We're still trying to figure out how to let men be vulnerable, to realize there’s strength in vulnerability, and that it’s how you fill out the circle of masculinity.”
Page even mentioned the struggles he had on delivering the emotional scenes which were integral to the character while at the same time he had to be in control of the character. Specifically, he reminisced, “There’s a moment in the house of the Bridgertons where it’s ostensibly a quiet calm, happy scene. I’m at dinner for the first time with this family. I really don’t want to be there, but you can’t say that. The kids are there and they’re all happy and playing and being accepted in exactly the warm and loving family that Simon never had. And that is never explicitly mentioned in the script at that moment. No one’s going to say it. But it is the biggest thing about that scene for him. Inhabiting that space is the most challenging but also the most gratifying part.”
Along with their story, the plot depicts the lavish lifestyle of the aristocratic family, their seductive and competitive world filled with intricate rules and dramatic power struggles.
The production of the series started in 2018 when in October writing for the episodes began. The executive producer and the creator of the series were Chris Van Dusen while was produced under the label of Shondaland of Shonda Rimes and Netflix; signed in 2017. The shooting began in July of 2019, and by October it was completed. Every two episodes out of eight, of the first season, were shot by different directors, they were, Sheree Folkson, Alrick Riley, Julie Anne Robinson, and Tom Verica. While the series was released on Christmas day of 2020, streaming on Netflix.
Within the first 28 days of the release, the series was streamed in more than 82 million households, making it the biggest hit of Netflix after The Witcher in 2019. Statistically, more than 40% of the Netflix users of 200 million. The show was no. 1 on Netflix in 83 countries including the US, UK, Brazil, France, India, and South Africa while was on the top 10 of every country except Japan. As the books came out 18 years before the adaptation, the success of it made the book New York Times a bestseller for the first time.
The show’s creator, Van Dusen in an interview talked about the reason behind the show’s popularity, he said, “I think the show really provides an incredible escape for audiences at a time where that’s exactly what’s needed. Bridgerton is this lavish, vibrant, steamy Regency love story; it is about romance, love, and joy; I think all of those things are really universal themes people are responding to.”
Simultaneously after the success of season one, Bridgerton was renewed for season two on January of 2021 while later in April season three and four were also renewed. The second season was announced to be based on The Viscount Who Loved Me, the second book of the eight-part series. Additionally, the renewal of the show was announced via the Lady Whistledown’s Society papers and mentioned that the production of was set for the Spring of 2021. This season shall focus mainly on Anthony, played by Jonathan Bailey of the Bridgerton family with recurring roles of Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma, Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma, Calam Lynch as Theo Sharpe, and Rupert Young as Jack.
As for Page, his contract with the production of the show was intended for only the first season of Bridgerton, so in April of 2021, it was also announced that Duke of Hasting shall not be appearing in the upcoming season. On the other hand, Duchess of Hasting, Dynevor was reviving her role in the further seasons.
Later, further information on Page’s exit surfaced, where the creative differences between the production and Page were the reason behind his discontinuation on the upcoming seasons: neither Page nor the Shondaland production has confirmed this information.
Page was previously nominated for NAMIC Vision Awards in 2017 under the category of Vision Award Best Performance in a Drama, for his role in Roots (2016).
Later, for his role in Bridgerton, he was nominated for Screen Actors Guild Award 2021 under the category of Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and then under Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series along with the entire cast of the show.
Then, he was nominated for Satellite Awards 2021 under Best Actor in a Series, Drama/Genre, and IMDb Awards 2021 under Breakout Star.
Eventually, he won the Image Awards (NAACP) 2021 under the category of Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, which was his first win in his acting career.
In February of 2021, it was announced that Page was starring in Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley’s Dungeons and Dragons, co-starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, and Justice Smith.
Then later in March of 2021, Page was cast under the Russo Brother’s production, The Gray Man alongside Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Ana De Armas.
After the success of Bridgerton, Page was widely rumored to have been dating his co-star Phoebe Dynevor. Page denied the rumors and stated that all of the chemistry was for the show and that they were just portraying the chemistry for the characters. They went through rigorous practice sessions before officially shooting, which helped them built up chemistry on screen. Both actors agreed that the dancing sequence was one of the intimate scenes on their parts that built their spark.
Dynevor further addressed the rumors, “People really root for us. We have to say we’re actors, we’re doing a job, there is something to be said for not spoiling the magic… but at a certain point you have to say ‘no’.”
Nevertheless, although Page has not officially confirmed; the Daily Mail UK has reported that he has been in a relationship with a writer/footballer Emily Brown and they reside together in North London.