“As an artist, you have to constantly ask yourself: ‘Why this story? Why now?’”, says Regé-Jean Page. The 30-year-old actor is video-calling from his apartment in Los Angeles and expounding on his latest role as the rakishly debonair Duke of Hastings in the Regency-era romance Bridgerton.
A frothy period drama bolstered by a lavish Netflix budget might not seem like the most pressing nor most relevant of artistic choices for Page to be making. Yet, he sees the eight-part series as a subversive act, because of its diverse cast injecting multiculturalism and a boundary-breaking sense of sexual intensity into a traditionally white, staid setting.
“It’s not colour blind casting because I don’t think it’s helpful to put brown skin in the show without putting brown people in the show,” Page says, referring to the contested notion of casting actors based solely on talent, rather than race, which has led in extreme cases to an erasure of race, such as Scarlett Johansson’s much-derided casting as a Japanese cyber-human in the 2017 film Ghost in the Shell. “This show is a glamorous, ambitious Cinderella fantasy of love and romance – I don’t know why you wouldn’t invite everyone to come and play in it, especially since we’re serving a global audience on Netflix. It takes so little imagination to include people, as opposed to how much thought and effort it takes to keep people out of these stories.”
Read the interview in the Guardian.
[This piece was published on 17/12/20]