Where has this gorgeous, talented man been all my life?
Like many other fans of the hit Netflix series, Bridgerton I’m obsessed with Rege’-Jean Page! The Zimbabwe-born actor who plays the tall, dark, and handsome romantic lead, Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings.
Released in late December 2020 to an international audience, Bridgerton has more than 85 million viewers, making it the most-watched series on Netflix. The eight-episode series has already received a second season, no doubt with more to come.
Bridgerton stars a diverse cast of British actors, including the legend Julie Andrews, Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page (Roots, Sylvie’s Love), and Nicola Coughlan (Derry Girls).
The Man Behind the Role
Rege’- Jean Page, the 30-year-old has been acting for a while. He spent time on the stage before moving on to TV and movies. U.K audiences have seen him in the TV series, Waterloo Road, Casualty, and Fresh Meat. His movie career includes roles in Mortal Engines as Captain Khora and a ‘blink and you’ll miss him‘ role in the Pierce Brosnan movie, Survivor.
U.S audience may recognize him as the ambitious lawyer, Leonard Knox on the Shonda Rhimes series, For the People.
Much More Than a Pretty Face
In one of the many (many) interviews I’ve watched recently, Page talks about his love of books and reading. Deeply valuing his privacy, questions about his personal life, love life, or anything that wasn’t about his acting were SHUT DOWN. Like my mama always said, ‘don’t put your private business in the streets’. Even his social media (Twitter and Instagram) is filled with only professional posts and photos.
The one thing that he did admit, and makes me love him more is that he loves to read. You can tell that he is an avid reader. His conversations, thoughts, and insights on the social, racial, and historical aspects of his roles in Roots and Bridgeton reveal a man who has spent some time alone, reading and meditating on his place in this world.
Chicken George in Roots
Rege’s next big break comes in the role of the iconic character, Chicken George in the History channel’s remake of Roots. Rege’ has apparently spent time in America. I was amazed at how he mastered the
I have nothing against the 1977 mini-series, but this new version follows Alex Hailey’s book more closely. It features more of Kunta Kinte’s life in Africa, as well as more of Kizzy’s and George’s mother-son relationship.
Episodes 2 and 4 delves into Chicken George’s story. Rege’ plays Kizzy’s son (Kunta Kinte’s grandson), George. He gains a reputation as a man with a gift for handling the birds used in the sport of cockfighting, thus the name Chicken George.
The character has a brass and flamboyant personality, even though he suffers under the brutality and deflation of slavery. George rebels against the ‘African roots Kizzy tries to instill in him, chasing to find his own way in the world and hopefully a way to freedom for himself and his family.
We see Rege go from a feisty young man falling in love with Matilda (played by Erica Tazel), the agony of his being sold off to an Englishman, to a war-weary older man being reunited with his wife and adult children after a long separation.
After seeing the legendary Ben Vereen play this role in Roots, it’s only natural to compare the two portrayals of this character. But Rege’ made Chicken George his own. He must have spent a lot of time in the ‘Deep South’ to master the particular southern accent and dialect. Especially since to most people outside of the southernU.S., all southern accents sound the same.
Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha star as Sylvie Parker and Robert Halloway in Amazon Studios’ Sylvie’s Love. The movie follows Sylvie who meets and falls in love with Robert, the young Jazz musician who works at her father’s record store.
Rege’, who was a drummer in a punk band as a teenager, looks quite comfortable in his roles as the jazz drummer, Chico Sweetney in the Dickie Brewster Quartet. And, his love interest in this movie is Aja Naomi King another Shondaland alum. [More on Sylvie’s Love later]
Enter the Duke of Hastings. In the first Julia Quinn book of the Bridgerton series, The Duke and I. Simon Basset is described as tall, dark, exceedingly handsome. He is a rake, an 18th womanizer, with piercing eyes. But like with most of us, there’s more to Simon than meets the eye.
Rege’- Jean Page is perfect casting as the Duke. Is the way he walks or that slight rise of of eyebrow?
I’m only halfway through reading The Duke and I and with at least eight more books in the Bridgerton-Rokesby series, I’m wondering if we’ll see more of Simon and Daphne in future seasons of Bridgerton.
Rege’- Jean Page is perfect as the Duke. Is it the way he walks or that slight raise of his eyebrow? Who can say?
Julia Quinn if you’re listening: Can we get a Simon Bassett prequel?
There a so many questions about those in-between years that require answers. His days at Eton and Oxford, and the time he spent with Lady Danbury. His travels, adventures, long. Lost loves… Where did he get that emerald broach and the gorgeous tapestry robe? So many questions!
Rege’-Jean Page is my new celebrity crush! It’s hard to settle on exactly what makes him so sexy. He seems so comfortable in his own skin, yet like his character, Simon Bassett, Rege’ seems to have deeper thoughts and emotions flowing just under the surface.