It’s always a delicate balance to strike for an actor who has left behind the role that made them famous. Sure, you want to be grateful for the opportunity that launched your career, but for someone like Regé-Jean Page, getting asked about Bridgerton all the time might get tiresome.
Page shocked fans by declining to return as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, though his storyline was wrapped up and he only ever had a one-season contract. He’s explained this many times now, but in an interview with Variety, he makes it even more clear he’s moved on. Asked about the possibility of the Netflix show recasting Simon, he says, “They’re free to do as they like.” A diplomatic answer, if a bit cold.
Try this for cold: He doesn’t even pretend to have watched the second season. “I haven’t caught up with it,” he admits. (Perhaps he, too, was disgruntled about the lack of sex?)
Even if Page is completely done with the series, he still has positive things to say about the Bridgerton experience: “Shonda [Rhimes] and I had a wonderful conversation at the end of season one. We were quite happy with how we stuck the landing on that one.”
He continues, “We did so well on that redemptive arc that people forget that Simon was kind of horrific. He was the best example of a Regency fuckboy that any of us had come across. And so, because we came around full circle so well, because we stuck that landing, you’re left with this great feeling. You really do have to be brave about ending stories like that.”
Obviously nothing will ever lure Page back to the ton, but it’s hard to imagine another actor filling his lordship’s shoes at this point. Since he’s so thoroughly washed his hands of Simon, though, the series might consider killing him off and putting Daphne back on the marriage mart. (It worked for Lady Mary, didn’t it?) It would at least give Phoebe Dynevor something to do, rather than her glorified guest star role in the second season. Still, fans will likely always carry a torch for the Duke–whether he likes it or not.