When Regé-Jean Page is speaking to you, you can tell that he’s really listening. It doesn’t matter what the topic of conversation is or if he’s at the end of a long day of press done over a series of sort-of-laggy Zoom calls (which he had to wake up particularly early to participate in from L.A. because, you know, time zones). His dark eyes lock on you, unwavering. And he doesn’t rush to spit out the first thought that comes to mind or speak just to fill a silence; he’s happy to pause and consider, always thoughtful—in a genuine way—about what’s just been said to him and how he’ll respond.

It’s exactly this quality that helped catapult the 34-year-old British-Zimbabwean actor to fame from the moment he first stepped into the spotlight as Duke of Hastings Simon Basset, the smouldering romantic lead of the first season of Netflix’s Regency-era romantic-drama hit Bridgerton, at the end of 2020. It’s also part of why fans were quick to throw his name on the list of rumoured potential James Bond candidates. And it’s why his most recent role, as the face of the brand-new, contemporary version of Giorgio Armani Code Parfum, makes perfect sense. After all, he has that same “I’m listening” expression in the campaign video as he runs through crowded streets and time moves backwards—until he bumps into a woman and the world around them is reset as they gaze at each other.

People think of masculinity and they think of strength, but we need to redefine what strength means. Is it an unwillingness to bend, or is there strength in vulnerability, in being able to listen and adapt?


Masculinity is something Page is interested in exploring in his work, and he plays with it in the Armani campaign as well. The tag line is “Rewrite the code,” which—surprise, surprise—the star has contemplated rather than just reading it as a clever slogan. “Masculinity should continuously self-examine and evolve,” he says. “Codes are meant to help you function, but they need to be constantly updated—just like the [operating system] on a laptop needs to be. Otherwise, an outdated code will break and not facilitate the function it is meant to serve. Masculinity needs to be in flux; it needs to change. People think of masculinity and they think of strength, but we need to redefine what strength means. Is it an unwillingness to bend, or is there strength in vulnerability, in being able to listen and adapt?”

Flexibility and evolution are at the centre of Page’s career choices. Despite the show’s success, he made the decision to leave Bridgerton after the first season, telling Variety at the time that it was because he felt that the story arc for Simon and his romance with Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) was complete. Why mess with that fairy-tale happy ending, right?

His first role after the departure was in globe-spanning action flick The Gray Man (from Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo) opposite Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. (The film is reportedly Netflix’s most expensive ever, and days after it premiered, the streamer greenlit a sequel and a spinoff.) Page plays Carmichael, who is a far cry from the Duke of Hastings and unlike anything the actor has done before. He calls the character a “deliciously dark and shadowy” figure, which is a polite way of saying he’s the type of evil you want to punch square in the face.

Up next is a string of high-profile roles. First, there’s another blockbuster, Dungeons & Dragons—a fantasy-adventure adaptation of the popular Stranger Things-approved role-playing game—which co-stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez and Hugh Grant and is slated to hit theatres early next year. Page will follow that up with the leading role in The Saint, a reimagining of the 1997 Val Kilmer thriller, and a yet-to-be-titled heist movie from writer-director Noah Hawley (Fargo), which he’ll also executive-produce.

When asked why he wants to get more involved behind the scenes as a producer, Page is very clear. “It’s about taking a position where you have increased authorship of the stories that you’re telling,” he says. “As a producer, you have a voice in the conversations about what the story will represent and what themes to explore. It’s like adding a couple more strings to the guitar.”

But what are those stories that Page wants to put more of his voice into? That answer is a bit more ambiguous but no less considered. “The joy of all this is that I have no idea, and I think that’s the most powerful place to be,” he says. “If I have any goal, it is to be constantly surprised and to keep expanding what I think is possible to do. The best idea anyone can pitch me is one that I have no idea is coming. The thing I want to do is the thing I haven’t imagined yet.”

Photographer and creative director: Damon Baker
Stylist: Holly Macnaghten
All clothing and accessories: Giorgio Armani
Makeup artist and hairstylist: Carlos Ferraz