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Son of a Zimbabwean nurse is bookies' new favourite for James Bond

by Staff reporter
09 Apr 2021 at 07:40hrs | Views
He is the dashing Netflix duke who could be about to swap regency era London for the secretive world of MI6. Regé-Jean Page left women swooning as the suave star of smash-hit British series Bridgerton.

But the 31-year old recently announced he would not be reprising his role as the heartthrob Duke of Hastings in the new series of the show. Rumours have begun to swirl about his next move. And the rumour that is on everyone's lips? Bond - James Bond.

Page has previously teased fans with social media captions such as "Shaken and Stirred" - an apparent nod to the famous Bond line. On Tuesday - amid reports that one major bookie had suspended betting on Page stepping into legendary spy role - he added fuel to fire by saying he was "flattered" by the speculation.

But some fans believe the Bridgerton star might be "too young" for the role, while others joked he might be "too good looking" to play Bond. Others, meanwhile, have urged producers of the worldfamous series to snap up Page - saying that it is time to "bring back good looking men like Pierce Brosnan".

As speculation mounts, MailOnline looks at the life of the rising star, who could now make history by becoming the first ever mixed-race actor - and second youngest - to play James Bond.

Born in London to a Zimbabwean nurse and an English preacher, Page, the youngest of four siblings, spent much of his young life growing up more than 8 000km away in Southern Africa.

He was raised in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare - home to more than two million people.

Page previously said in a 2016 interview that his experiences in the southern African country helped shape him as a person.

Speaking to Interview Magazine, he said: "Zimbabwe is one of the youngest countries in the world, it became independent from British colonialism in the 1980s.

"In America, you can still feel the echoes of slavery, and Zimbabwe is feeling the echoes of British colonial rule.

"It's very hard to craft an identity in that environment as a young, mixed race man. I learned from the age of three that I was a walking political statement. Just by walking around with my face, I was saying, ‘My parents did a fairly revolutionary thing that pisses off some of you'."

Page made a return to London in his adolescence and attended secondary school.

It was in North London where he would find his passion for acting - attending the Jigsaw Saturday School in Enfield for around 10 years.

Acting, however, wasn't his first choice of careers.

And the heartthrob star may never have graced our screens with his good looks had he followed his initial career choice, as a sound engineer.

"It was already a compromise. It was halfway between science for my mum and an art for me," he told Interview Magazine in 2016.

Music was obviously an early passion for the future star, who sang and played drums in a punk band which he formed with one of his three siblings, brother Tose Page - with whom he still performs as part of the musical duo Tunya.

Though his dress sense was somewhat different to the regency era clothing in which he would burst into super-stardom.

According to the magazine, Page dyed his hair blue, green and purple during his punk days.

"As a teenager, the idea of running around, screaming at people was very appealing to me," he said.

He told The Fall Mag that he was drawn to the style because it was: "clean, pretty, ugly and dirty all at once. (It was about) not needing to bow for validation. In fact, not even needing validation."

Acting, at the time, was merely hobby for Page. Like so many others, he starred in his school's nativity, playing the Little Drummer Boy. But it was at his Enfield Saturday School where he began fine-tuning his skills.

He said: "I went to a Saturday school where you would do an hour of dancing, an hour of acting, and an hour of singing. I was loud and attention-seeking enough that they put me on their agency on the side."

It was during this time Page gained extra roles - once playing an ambulance thief in the long running medical series Casualty.

He spent two years auditioning for the prestigious National Youth Theatre in London.

His persistence was rewarded when he was invited to join the famous drama school.

"It was the first time I had ever been in a room with a group of kids who took acting as seriously as I did and went as deep as I wanted to go," he told Interview Magazine. "I pretty much immediately ran away from university to be an actor."

The school, in the Holloway area of London, has helped shape international film stars Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender.

But Page told the Huffington Post in 2016 that he wasn't driven by a desire to follow in the footsteps of any current actor.

Asked who is hero was, he said: "I'm very wary of heroes. I try not to make them in the first place, but there was a phrase Idris Elba spoke a few years back, where he said

'It's not about being the next Denzel, it's about being the first you', and I really took that to heart.

"But there are a great many actors and actresses whom I respect, and so I believe I have a collage of influences than focusing on any one career path in particular."

Page's first professional job was in the History Boys in Sheffield's Crucible Theatre and he later landed roles in the likes of Fresh Meat and Waterloo Road.

His breakthrough came across the pond in the United States, where he now spends much of his time.

He played Chicken George in the History Channel big budget 2016 miniseries Roots - based on a book following the story of an 18th-Century African who becomes enslaved and transported to North America.

Page's performance in the show, a remake on a 1977 series of the same name, earned him critical acclaim.

It also helped him land a spot in US Crime series For the People, based on the writing of hit screenwriter and author Shonda Rhimes - the mind behind Bridgerton.

The series was cancelled after two seasons in 2019. But the Page and Rhimes combination was not over yet.

In 2020, he would land the role of Simon Bassett, aka the Duke of Hastings, in Netflix's hit series Bridgerton.

The series, set in a fictional version of regency era London, follows the steamy and dramatic romance between the determined-to-stay-single Duke and love interest Daphne Bridgerton, played by English actress Phoebe Dynevor.

His outstanding performance earned him a win at NAACP Image Awards and two nominations at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. And his dashing good looks earned him the hearts of many adoring fans.

But much to their disappointment, Page already has a girlfriend - Emily Brown - a copywriter and amateur football star.

The future, however, now looks bright for Page, who was seen returning to the UK on Tuesday after his odds were slashed to become the new favourite to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond. He was spotted touching down at London's Heathrow after heading home from Los Angeles where he has been staying recently.

His return comes after bookmakers Coral revealed that the newcomer is hot favourite to play the iconic spy role following Craig's departure from the franchise.

The hunky star has even admitted that he is "flattered" to be included among a host of British stars tipped for the iconic role.

He told The Mirror: "Ah, the B word. I think that if you are British and you do anything of note, that other people take notice of, then people will start talking about that."

He added: "I think that's fairly normal and I'm flattered to be in the category of Brits that people have noticed. Nothing more - or less - than that."

However despite being the bookies favourite, he said he was bemused by the idea of making any plans at "this moment in history" and has "given up" doing so.

His odds have been slashed to 5-2, overtaking long-running favourites Tom Hardy and James Norton - who had previously been the top picks at 3-1.

Huge stars, including Idris Elba, Sam Heughan, Richard Madden and Henry Cavill, are all currently trailing behind the others on 10-1.

A spokesman for the bookmakers said: "The news that Regé-Jean Page will not be returning for the second series of Bridgerton has prompted plenty of bets from punters who believe he will make the perfect James Bond.

"We now make him favourite, ahead of Tom Hardy, for who succeeds Daniel Craig as 007."

Back in January, Page hinted that he could be a good contender to succeed Daniel Craig as James Bond.

If he does land the role, Page would be the first ever mixedrace actor to play Bond - who has so far been played by seven white actors in the main film series.

Even if Page isn't the man to step into Craig's shoes, he has plenty to look forward to in the coming months.

He is set to star in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons film, and will feature in The Gray Man - an American action directed by the Russo brothers.

But as Page continues to cause shake-up the film-world, his fans will be left to stir the speculation over his chances of landing the role of Bond. -

Source - Mail Online.

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