Since Rege-Jean Page departed from the beloved role as the Duke of Hastings in the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” fans have heard from Shonda Rhimes and his cast mates from the show about his exit, but fans have been wanting to hear from him specifically.
In a May 28 interview with Variety, Page discussed more about what it felt like to leave the character that so many people now know him for. He says the emotion one feels when making a move like that of leaving high school: “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.”
But Page says the character was much more than a job, it was his contribution to creating more representation for the Black community in film. A Black duke riding a horse in 1813 is unheard of, especially in a town with a Black queen. However, “Bridgerton” challenged the audience and opened it to new ideas of what’s possible.
“It’s so simple,” Page said. “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.”
He went on to address why it is important for Black actors to be cast in more prominent non-stereotypical roles. The 31-year-old told Variety, “As Black people, we’re very used to empathizing with the world through white people’s eyes, because they’re the protagonists. I know what it’s like to look at the world and empathize with Superman because I spent my whole life doing that.”
“What’s revolutionary, in its own way, is getting folks to see the world through my eyes, because then they are in my skin and looking at the world through me.” Last month, reports circulated that DC’s entertainment chief officer Geoff Johns refused to let Page play the character of Superman’s grandfather in the upcoming series “Krypton” because he didn’t think the audience could imagine the character being Black.
Page initially addressed the reports on Twitter, saying, “Hearing about these conversations hurts no less now than it did back then. The clarifications almost hurt more tbh. Still just doing my thing. Still we do the work. We still fly.” He further reflected on the incident with Variety. “I decided a very long time ago that I would refuse to be defined by trauma and would only be defined by success, when and where it comes.”
He went on to say, “And I will not waste what breath I have on feeding things that are not worth it. So I choose my words carefully. I spend my energy carefully, and I’ll continue to do that where it is necessary and welcomed.”
Link to original Atlanta Black Star