For an actor that everybody can’t stop talking about Regé-Jean Page certainly seems like he came out of nowhere to captivate audiences in the Netflix hit Bridgerton. As Simon Bassett (the Duke of Hastings) he positively charmed eventual wife Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and many others who came into his circle. By proxy, Page has gotten the attention of many a Netflix viewer, but, as anybody who knows anything about the entertainment business will tell you, he certainly didn’t appear out of thin air.
In fact, Page had a fairly solid body of work that seems to have put his acting muscles to good use before being “discovered” in Bridgerton. With an innate understanding of the actor’s space, he has solidly built up his craft in both period pieces, contemporary roles, and parts that are very forward thinking. With Netflix’s huge subscriber base, it isn’t any surprise that Page or Bridgerton has caught fire like they have. (In fact, now that the actor has left the show there’s a lot of talk that he might have done this to join the cast of Black Panther 2. Keep in mind that this is just talk, and that Bridgerton, as it is set up, probably wasn’t going to include him in however many seasons may follow as it is an anthology series). However, if you really want to entertain yourself with the work this actor has done, you’ll be more than happy to uncover these roles that made it clear Regé-Jean Page was always an actor to watch.
Regé-Jean Page in Mortal Engines
Taking on the supporting role of Captain Khora in a big film from the master of big, Peter Jackson, Page does some solid work here. In this story based on Philip Reeve’s book, we are taken into a world of moving cities who must literally devour other other cities to survive. While maybe not the most successful of Jackson’s films, Page manages to distinguish himself amidst a cast that includes Hera Hilmer and Hugo Weaving (among others). As previously stated, Page is not the star here, but that he’s able to be memorable amidst all the action and special FX says a lot about how’s he’s capable of commanding the screen when it’s his time to shine. The role of Captain Khora is fairly essential (at last in the scenes that Page is in), and it is strong testament to him that he made the most of this role. Chances are Page saw it is a big opportunity to work with a master like Peter Jackson and that’s obviously something the actor wasn’t going to turn down.
Regé-Jean Page in Sylvie’s Love
In this Amazon Original romance, Rege-Jean Page takes on the role of Chico Sweetney. Again, Page is playing a supporting role, and like his work in Mortal Engines it is central to the story being told. Sylvie’s Love is a highly stylized, romantic film that follows Sylvie (Tessa Thompson) and Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha) as lovers against a background of a changing, 1950s America. These two seem made for one another however it’s the vagaries of life (career, distance in relationships) that strain Sylvie and Robert the most. Rege-Jean Page is a character circling around the proceedings who adds another layer to the decisions our characters have to make. Honestly, he doesn’t seem to get enough screen time and one wonders if this fine film might have been even better if Page and Asomugha had switched roles? All that being said, director Eugene Ashe, a person who comes from the music world, really seems to have mined that experience for the wonderful story he wrote and directed here. It would be exciting to see what Ashe and Page could do in a project that they come up with together? I’m certain that Ashe was probably impressed with Page’s work onscreen, and it seems like with the actors newfound bankability, getting a project off the ground might not have to clear as many hurdles.
Regé-Jean Page in The Merchant of Venice
As an actor schooled in the UK, it seems only fitting that Rege-Jean Page should act in one of William Shakespeare’s plays. This story about Antonio and Bassanio getting in debt to Shylock is known the world over and has even created idioms still used in our popular culture. When they can’t pay what they owe, Shylock literally demands a pound of Bassanio’s flesh. In this famous tale, Page plays the role of Solanio. He is a friend to Antonio and also helps to explain the goings on to the audience. This play and movie has been done many times before with the best of the movie offerings (in my opinion) done in 2004 with Al Pacino in the coveted role of Shylock. Page makes great use of his time on screen. While not the star he is certainly one of the supporting actors and he really seems to understand the nuance of the material. Given what Bridgerton has done for his career, it isn’t much of a surprise that he “broke out” with period material. His work in The Merchant of Venice clearly foreshadows an actor who was going to pop sometime.
Regé-Jean Page in For the People
In this legal series from ABC, Page played the role of Leonard Knox. The show lasted 2 seasons and was set in New York Federal Court where the prosecutors and the defense live VERY connected lives. As Leonard Knox, Page was pretty much a perfect fit as a lawyer. He has a bookish quality to him and Page carries himself in a way that makes people listen when he doles out advice. As an Assistant US Attorney, Page’s character was crucial, in some way, to every episode on this show. Even more crucial is the fact that this show brought him into the world of Shonda Rhimes. From there he would go on to make his splash in Bridgerton, but if you want to see what first attracted people to him, For the People is a good jumping off point. As you can see on this list, Page has been at it since the early 2000s, however, he certainly shows on this show why he would go on to have the success he’s currently enjoying.
Regé-Jean Page in Survivor
Kate Abbott (Milla Jovovich) is an employee with the State Department who has her life turned upside when she is accused of crimes that do not involve her. Rather than be imprisoned she goes on the run in attempt to clear her name and stop those trying to frame her. With a cast that also features Pierce Brosnan and Dylan McDermott, Page fits in quite nicely here as the character of Robert Purvell. He’s not one of the main stars in this film but he does very credible work as somebody caught in the middle of Kate’s situation. Directed by James McTeigue (Breaking In), Survivor as film is a fairly boiler-plate project from the same person who directed V for Vendetta. Survivor isn’t a bad film, it just isn’t as groundbreaking as some of the other projects these actors have been a part of. At the same time, Page clearly holds his own with such big screen heavyweights as Jovovich, Brosnan, and McDermott. Again, he shows why he’s so sought after, and the continued success of Bridgerton seems like it will further underscore this as his career moves forward.
Regé-Jean Page in Roots
This 2016 remake of the film from 1977 is also adapted from Alex Haley’s acclaimed book. It follows Kunte Kinta (Malachi Kirby) who is sold into slavery in America. This film covers US history and facts that are often not discussed (though that seems to be changing slightly), and Rege-Jean Page nicely fills out this cast in the role of Chicken George. This character is suave, debonair and sadly filled with tragedy. Caught between the world around him and the traditions of his family he knows he should uphold, Page gets to the heart of this character’s sadness. With a cast that includes such solid actors as Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne and TI, this modern day remake of Roots is very well cast and put together. Page does very credible work alongside some of cinemas biggest heavyweights, and it’s made all the more important by the gravity of this material.
Regé-Jean Page in Waterloo Road
Set in a school for troubled youths with teachers who try their best but never seem to have enough support, Page shines here as Guy Braxton. He is openly gay, doesn’t have a lot of training as a teacher, and is actually not in the best financial straits. This however brings him closer to his students and actually helps him do his job better. Also, there’s an intertwining of personal and professional relationships that add another layer of nuance to all of the characters on this show, especially that of Guy Braxton. Page brings a self-assuredness as well as a vulnerability to this character that makes his work extremely complex. Waterloo Road is a BBC show and it’s a great example of the material they both willing to crank out and not shy away from. Rege-Jean Page showed great poise in not only taking on this early role but how he played it. Itt again seems to foreshadow his ability to chose projects that are going to not only elevate his career but his status is an actor. Aside from the innumerable opportunities that being on this show created, it was sort of a harbinger of things to come as Page’s Bridgerton co-star, Phoebe Dynevor, was also on Waterloo Road!
Regé-Jean Page in Fresh Meat
Another show set in school, Fresh Meat ran for 4 seasons and boasts 30 episodes. This show focuses on students entering college (or as they say across the pond, university). Page wasn’t a “regular” on this show and was actually only on it for 2 episodes. In the role of Dean, he plays a guy who keeps a very nice flat and is inordinately clean for a college student. His character is meant to be better than perfect and that is exactly how Page, in his short time on this show, plays him. This is a lighter role than some of the other things that Page has done on this list, and again it’s quite interesting to see him stretch his range a bit.
Regé-Jean Page in Casualty
This was actually Page’s first television role. He plays the role of Daniel Klimpton who takes part in stealing an ambulance when he gets caught up in a student mob. Clearly a supporting player to the proceedings, Klimpton attempts to be the voice of reason when the ambulance stunt goes too far. Of all the things on this list, this role is probably the most different because it shows us Page as something of a heavy. Sure he’s part of an angry mob, but he starts off being a goon and then actually shows that he has some semblance of a soul. As I have said, this is a much smaller role than Page would go on to play in the other projects on this list, but it’s one that is fairly well written for a procedural show about life in an emergency department.