Rege Jean-Page on Black joy: ‘Where’s our old-school Hollywood love story?’

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Rege-Jean Page has been giving me life these last few weeks with his thoughtful interviews. Earlier this week, Rege discussed how he develops his characters starting with their shoes. Rege participated in The Hollywood Reporter’s Actor’s Roundtable with Chris Rock, Jonathan Majors, Josh O’Connor, and John Boyega. He discussed his family’s reaction to his nudity and sex scenes (Jonathan Majors had things to say about this too) in Bridgerton, rumors about being the next James Bond and his desire to see the depiction of Black joy on screen. Below are a few highlights from The Hollywood Reporter:

Regé, I’ve seen you say that there was a conversation early on as Bridgerton was coming together that the show would feature a diverse cast but it would not be colorblind casting and that was important to everyone involved. What were those conversations
Well, yeah, and they’re the same conversations I’ve had since the beginning of my career. I had it on Roots, which was a story predominantly about people of color. [On Bridgerton,] it’s about how do we go into the past and look at the images we already have and spotlight joy within that? Where are our opportunities to spotlight Black joy, because otherwise you go into the past and you think that it’s Black folks’ job to suffer for a while, carry a moral for the white folks, and then we all move on. And finding opportunities for us to be splendid and spectacular and joyous and romantic was the theme of my involvement from the very beginning. And Sylvie’s Love came out at the same time, and it was exactly the same conversations: Where’s our old-school Hollywood love story? Where’s our folks just falling in love?

You’ve also acknowledged that you sent several warning texts and flashing red light emojis to your family’s Whatsapp group — were they sufficiently prepared for the show’s racier scenes?
No one was sufficiently prepared. I wasn’t sufficiently prepared, and I was there. (Laughs.) I think people were grateful for the intensity of the romantic aspects of Bridgerton; I’m not sure how grateful I was to watch it for myself. It was overwhelming. But I think people were looking to be overwhelmed. My family doesn’t want to be overwhelmed by my backside, specifically, too often, but they’ll take it on this occasion because everyone seems to be terribly happy.

You’re now contending with Bond rumors
Yeah, [because] it gets clicks. It’s got nothing to do with me — nothing to do with anything that has happened in any rooms or any meetings. It’s literally just a thing for people to talk about. So it’s flattering, but it’s just a game.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

I’m gonna start with the obvious, this roundtable was definitely flipped on its head having Josh being the only white actor in a sea of Black actors and I kind of enjoyed that dynamic. It was also dope seeing Black actors from both Britain and the U.S. connecting with each other. Again, Rege surprises me about how much thought he puts into everything. I also love how he sort of fan boys over Chris Rock. Personally I am tired of Rege being asked about his nudity and sex scene. I feel that it is lazy journalism. I think that there is so much more Rege can bring to a conversation about acting outside of that. I get that until his other projects are released he will be pigeonholed into Bridgerton conversations but I hope going forward that the interviewers will different questions. Especially since Sylvie’s Love came out at the exact same time as Bridgerton (he was such a sleaze in that movie and I loved it). The other thing that I liked is when Rege talked about finding Black joy in the script and being able to covey that on screen versus just the suffering of Black people, especially when doing historical shows.

I have to admit I geeked out when he started talking about old school Black love stories. Because I honestly am looking for the Love Jones, Boomerang, Jason’s Lyric, and Waiting to Exhales of this generation. I just feel like we haven’t had any really good Black love stories since the late 90s. I don’t wish to just see Black joy in love stories, I want to see Black WOMAN joy in love stories. I am tired of seeing Black women having to portray the long suffering roles. Anyways, I love all of the actors in this roundtable. And I am definitely looking forward to seeing more Rege in the future. In the meantime, I’m gonna go watch Chris Rock in Fargo because I had no clue that he was in that show.

Full Interview:

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14 Responses to “Rege Jean-Page on Black joy: ‘Where’s our old-school Hollywood love story?’”

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  1. Gina says:

    I enjoy every interview with Rege-Jean. He is smart, likable, original and kind. And sexy as hell. Winning combination.

  2. Monica says:

    Considering all that African Americans have contributed to arts and culture, I am more than ready to see them “over”-represented in our media for the foreseeable future.

    • Jais says:

      “Over-represented” yep this is just the reverse of many round tables, all white except for POC. Very good to see. More please.

  3. BayTampaBay says:

    Does anyone know when this “Round Table” will be broadcast on TV in the USA?

    • Common sense says:

      Do they broadcast them on T.V in the U.S?. I am in South Africa and watch them on YouTube.

  4. CHIMES@MIDNIGHT says:

    Chris Rock was *really good* on Fargo. I was surprised because his role is not comedic at all, and I thought he nailed it.

  5. Stacy Dresden says:

    DO ITT Mr. Page! Please, the world would adore a classic romance film with you involved!

  6. SusanRagain says:

    I’d be happy to watch a good movie with him.
    He was good on SNL, can we get a musical? I love the old school musicals and we know he can sing.

  7. Shoop says:

    Sylvie’s Love is really good, and I would like to see a lot more of Nnamdi Asomugha; a gorgeous and subtle actor, charismatic in a way that seemed effortless.

    • Yup, Me says:

      And I was so pleased to see him as something other than Kerry Washington’s husband or a pro-ball player. He seems very well rounded and I can see how they work well together as a couple.

  8. Che says:

    If he’s looking for an actress to play the lead, I’m here! I’m always here for your Rege!

  9. Common sense says:

    I appreciate all your coverage of Rege, do not stop. I really enjoyed this Round Table. I came out of this liking Josh O’Connor; I didn’t like him because of his role as Charles. The last season of the Crown was really hard for me to watch; Charles was really mean to Diana. Josh portrayed his character so well that I just could not separate him from his character, but this interview made me like him.

  10. mel says:

    Black joy. Yes please!!
    I am so sick of 95% of the shows/movies portraying black people being victimized, drug dealers, homeless/poor etc. My psyche can’t take it anymore. Lately I’ve been turning off any show with the black characters leaning into stereotypes. I turn off a lot of shows/movies. It is so pervasive.

  11. Imara219 says:

    This conversation I can agree with him. I want to see more evolved Black love stories on screen. We had more diversity in the late 90s and early 2000s than we do now. I still watch Jason’s Lyric to this day and my generation pontificate on Love Jones constantly. However, those movies are so far and few in between now.. Even on the small screen it is rare to see a Black family in love and just being supportive of Black family and joy.