The Star Late Edition

Page won’t be back, but we need move on

- DEBASHINE THANGEVELO debashine.thangevelo@inl.co.za

WHY did Regé-Jean Page choose not to return to Bridgerton?

For months, fans of Shonda Rhimes’s scintillat­ing period drama, which debuted on Netflix in December, have been agonising over the dreamy actor’s departure.

Some have even been silently hoping that he would have a change of heart – after all, the show has been renewed for more than one season. But I won’t hold out much hope of it happening.

If like me, you binged the entire eight episodes in one go, then Simon Bassett (Page), the dashing Duke of Hastings would have consumed your every thought for weeks – even months – after.

With all those steamy sex scenes with Daphne Bassett (Phoebe Dynevor), which seemed like it was perfectly plucked out of the pages of a Mills & Boon novel, how could we not?

And, let’s not forget about him getting hearts racing with that infamous spoon scene. You know the one I’m talking about – don’t act coy now.

Heck, even soon-to-be-divorced Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s reality star, Kim Kardashian, hasn’t gotten over the fact that the dashing heart-throb will no longer be in the series.

According to a recent piece on E! News, she was getting a facial when the Bridgeton soundtrack kicked in and it triggered the pain many fans have felt since it was announced that he wouldn’t be in season two.

She then went on to express her feelings in an Instagram post: “Why is the @bridgerton­netflix soundtrack on while I am trying to relax and get a facial.

“The music was a punch to the gut, as it would be for any true superfan.

“I might start crying thinking about how the Duke isn’t coming back,” she continued. “Just when I thought I was over it!!!”

Well, we feel her pain!

Just to provide some context on the series, which are based on Julia Quinns Bridgerton series of novels, the plan was to have a different anchor in each season. Season one, explored Daphne’s courtship-of-convenienc­e with the Duke of Hastings, which then grew into something more.

According to a piece on The Hollywood Reporter, Page did have the option of returning for a few episodes. He decided against it due to other work commitment­s.

The article also mentioned that close sources revealed that Page was offered an opportunit­y to return as a guest star in three to five episodes of season two – at a rate of $50 000 (about R700 000) an episode – but declined for a multitude of reasons.

Interestin­gly, the British actor bagged his breakthrou­gh role in History channels remake of Roots in 2016 and he ploughed his way through several formidable roles on the big and small screen.

But it was his character in Bridgerton that turned him into a bonafide sex symbol.

Now that his one-season-arc is done and dusted, Page’s “soughtafte­r” status has seen him pretty busy. He has two incredible movies in his kitty: The Gray Man and Dungeons & Dragons.

In the former Netflix espionage thriller, he shares the spotlight with Hollywood heavyweigh­ts, Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and Brad Pitt.

While the godmother of TV was also taken aback by the popularity of Page, perhaps the time has come for us to move on.

Yes, I said it. Move on.

As she’s proved time and time again, Rhimes weaves her magic in all she touches. And with her casting Simone Ashley to play Anthony Bridgerton’s (Jonathan Bailey) love interest, Kate Sharma, I’m sure fans will be transfixed by the interracia­l relationsh­ip. And with Quinn pushing for more sex scenes, expect to be left weak-kneed once again.

Of course, I can’t wait to see what Lady Whistledow­n has to say about this in her new scandal sheet.

Bridgerton 2 is slated for release later this year or early next year.

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