Regé-Jean Page took 2020 by storm and charmed audiences worldwide, becoming one of the biggest recent breakout stars when he played the enigmatic Duke of Hastings in the Netflix series Bridgerton. Now, he is starring in two big productions: The Gray Man alongside Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas, as well as the Chris Pine Dungeons and Dragons adaptation, which will hit cinemas in 2023. The actor has been rumored to be the next 007, but those comments were neither confirmed nor denied.
Overnight fame is something few people can claim, and Page is definitely one of them. The pandemic allowed this to happen to more people than in the past for a simple reason: everyone was stuck at home watching everything that was available. Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) and Lee Jung-Jae (Squid Game) are only a few other examples of big breakout stars from the past two years. The circumstances, however, do not lessen the merit these actors had in portraying their roles and hypnotizing the audience. With so many options available to watch, standing out is a harder feat than some might think.
Here is why Regé-Jean Page became a breakout star and why he is still a subject of conversation, even after almost two years of his breakout role.
Heartthrobs and Romance Movies
It has been a while since there was a breakout male lead in a romance story. Yes, there was the golden age of ’80s and ’90s romance movies, where everyone from John Cusack and Tom Hanks to Hugh Grant and Richard Gere did various romance movies, but since then, the genre has been lacking in consistent star power – and good products overall. Of course, there have been incredible romance movies and series, but romance fans have seen far better days in the past.
So, when Bridgerton came out, a story based on a series of Regency Era romance novels, the genre received a well-deserved boost. Because of the lack of movies and television series these types of stories were getting, and the amazing production of the Netflix series, the romantic male lead got a lot of attention, especially because he was unknown to most people. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Page will be returning to star in a romance story any time soon, but there is always room for hope. He would certainly become a new romance lead.
Rége-Jean Page’s Charisma
There is no denying that a big part of the actors’ fame in the film industry receive has relation to how charming they are and if they have charisma, and Regé has both of them. His debut on Saturday Night Live and his many other promo interviews for the show only cemented what he showed as the Duke of Hastings in the Regency Era: he is likable. The actor makes fun of himself and is open to talking about his craft and the show – especially the spicier scenes. He has an easy-going nature that is really appealing to the audience and makes them want to see more of him. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that is handsome.
The actor was so likable that soon after his breakout role, there was speculation that he could (and some people claimed that he should) be the next James Bond. Granted, he is English and young, so that definitely helps. But the amount of male British actors out there makes the competition hard – and having multiple supporters around the world makes it easier to make it to the room where the decisions happen. Also, the actor received endorsement from a former Bond, none other than Pierce Brosnan himself.
Right Place and Right Time of Bridgerton
Bridgerton is one of Netflix’s biggest recent successes, taking second and third place (second and first season, respectively) of the most watched Netflix series of all time. Because there was such a big audience, it was expected that the leading actors, and since the series is a romance it would be the leading couple, would get some special attention. The series was a breakout point for both actors Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page, who gained viewers hearts while dancing in a crowded ballroom to the soundtrack of an orchestral arrangement of Ariana Grande.
Would any other unknown actor would become as famous as Regé just by being on the show? There is no way of knowing. But the timing of the premiere of season one, Christmas of 2020, the first year of the pandemic when people were forcibly kept apart from their loved ones certainly helped. Nevertheless, the credit for a big part of the show’s fame has to be given to the actors: their chemistry was undeniable, and they charmed the audience just as much as each other. They were perfect for their part and played the fake courting lovers in a way that makes the viewer eager to know if they will have their happily ever after. Regé made such an impression with his role that once he left the show, announcing he wouldn’t return for season two – or any future seasons for that matter – the show didn’t recast the role (though some speculate he may return).
Regé-Jean Page has become a prominent name in the film industry. He is fairly new to the game, having been a part of a few projects, but the actor is likable, smart, and knows what roles suit him best. He was, without a doubt, in the right place at the right time, but that can’t take away his talent and abilities to make clever choices career-wise. Fans can’t wait to see what he will do next, even if it is not playing the romantic Simon Basset.