If you haven’t heard of British-Zimbabwean actor Regé-Jean Page, we have a feeling you’re about to. Not only was the up-and-coming star named one of Variety’s top 10 TV stars to watch, but he’s set to appear in not one, but two of December’s biggest television releases.
The 30-year-old actor has been making waves ever since he burst on to our TV screens playing a hapless teacher in BBC One’s Waterloo Road. In fewer than five years, he’s gone from the world of British television to Hollywood, earning a supporting role in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Mortal Engines, as well quite a big role in the Emmy-nominated revival of Roots, which was watched by a whopping 6.9 million American viewers.
In December, you can catch him on Netflix’s new Regency-era drama Bridgerton alongside Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan and Line of Duty’s Polly Walker. Regé-Jean plays the dashing and devastating Simon Basset, a character who has “zero interest in his title, society, or taking a wife” according to the show’s synopsis. Given that the eight-part drama has been described as a combination of Pride and Prejudice meets Gossip Girl, we’ve got a feeling he could be the next Mr. Darcy. Or Chuck Bass, depending on how you see it. Keep reading for everything you need to know about Netflix’s new leading man.
As a Child, He Moved From the UK to Africa and Back Again
Regé-Jean was born in North London but moved to his mother’s native Zimbabwe when he was young and spent his formative years there before moving back to the UK at 14. The actor has spoken about how growing up in different cultures shaped his perspective, most notably his idea of home. “Home is a relative concept,” he told Interview. “Home is very much wherever it is that your people are and where you fit in.”
He Switches Easily Between Accents, Even in Real Life
Regé-Jean speaks naturally with a North London accent and has convincingly mastered an American accent for his roles on Roots and For the People. Having lived in London, Zimbabwe, and LA, however, the actor admits that his voice sometimes changes depending where he is or who is he with.
“My father spoke with something very similar to a 1920s newscaster type of English, and I learnt that accent of power in post-colonial Zimbabwe. So I learnt that, and I learnt how to copy it, and I learnt how to shift in and out of it, but also talk like my mother’s relatives in the village,” he said in an interview with Square Mile. “Accents aren’t accents, they’re language … It’s almost like a code. Because that’s the key to who you are: it’s how you express who you are. And how you express who you are is how you speak.”
He Currently Lives in LA
The actor moved to LA in his twenties (he’s 30 years old now), which is where he’ll be when Bridgerton airs on Christmas Day.
He’s Starring in Another Period Romance Before the Year Is Out
As well as Bridgerton, you can catch the actor in the upcoming 1960’s romance, Sylvie’s Love. In the film, which will be released on Amazon Prime on 23 Dec., Regé-Jean plays Chico, a drummer in lead actor Nnamdi Asomugha’s jazz band — a role we imagine he took to well given his teenage years as a punk drummer.