We've been here before. It seems that every time a dashing British or Irish male lead makes an impact on screen, he is tipped to become the next James Bond.
It's been fewer than two weeks since Bridgerton hit Netflix on Christmas Day, and its leading man, Rege-Jean Page, is already being given the Daniel Craig-replacement rumour mill treatment. Right on cue.
The star of the Regency-era drama has won over fans as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, with his dashing good looks, brooding pauses and athletic prowess in his boxing scenes. Three Bond-appropriate character traits if ever there were any.
It seems Page pre-empted the Bond hype, captioning a mid-December Bridgerton promotional video on Twitter: "Regency, royalty. Shaken and stirred." A not-so-thinly-veiled reference to Bond's "shaken, not stirred" catchphrase.
"Just found you [on] Twitter right after I told a friend you should be the next James Bond," one fan replied on December 31. "Are you the next 007? I actually live under a rock, so I may have missed something."
But who is Rege-Jean Page?
He grew up in Zimbabwe
Page was born in London, England in 1990 to an English father and Zimbabwean mother. He spent his early childhood in Harare, Zimbabwe and moved back to London at the age of 14, when he took up acting at the National Youth Theatre as a hobby.
Speaking about Zimbabwe to London magazine Square Mile, he said: "[It's] hot. Beautiful. Dry. Very wet when it's wet ... It's the most beautiful place in the world. Everyone says this about their own country, but it's objectively beautiful. And because it was so young I think there's a genuine generosity in people from Zimbabwe, which is slowly being chipped away at, as we hit our terrible teens and realise the world is a harsh, cold, difficult place that one must be strong enough to survive."
He is vocal about black representation on screen
In December, Page spoke to InStyle about the importance of seeing black joy on screen, particularly in the historical fiction genre.
"What happens in culture often is, you go back in time and only white folks are happy," he said. "And you know what? We've all known how to smile since the beginning of time. We've all gotten married since the beginning of time. We've all had romance, glamour and splendour. Representing that is incredibly important, because period drama for people who aren't white shouldn't mean only spotlighting trauma."
He added: "If we've endured white Jesus for this long, then folks can endure a black duke."
He was in 'Harry Potter'
Page is a British actor in his early 30s, so it makes sense that he made up at least a small part in the franchise's sizeable ensemble cast.
The role is not listed on his IMDb, but his Wikipedia lists it as an "unnamed role" in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
In one scene, Page appears in a number of shots at Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's wedding. He is most noticeable when standing beside Emma Watson's Hermione Granger when Kingsley Shacklebolt’s sends his Patronus to announce that Voldemort had taken over the Ministry of Magic.
Watch out for him around the 26-second and four-minute marks here:
He is musically talented
Page is the second youngest of four siblings and is part of a musical duo with his brother, Tose Page, called Tunya.
Tunya's website explains of the pair: "Having written together and featured in various bands since their teens, the pair now independently produce their own music and collaborations."
You can hear Tunya's work and Rege-Jean singing in Don't Wait, a short film directed and choreographed by Lanre Malaolu. Rege-Jean stars opposite Joshua Nash in the piece.
He has starred in a number of UK TV shows
Roles listed on Page's IMDb include bit-parts in UK hospital dramas Casualty and Casualty @ Holby City; a recurring role in secondary school soap, Waterloo Road; and a two-episode stint in Fresh Meat.
Of his role in 10-series drama Waterloo Road, he told Digital Spy in 2015: "It was a bit strange to jump on board with a show that people have invested in for so long. There have been so many series before this, so to know that you're going to close that book is quite a big responsibility but also really exciting. It was loads of fun to be part of it.
"This job was also a huge learning experience for me, because it was the longest I've worked on anything on television. Being away for so long, going to work every day and having to deliver is quite a big deal. But it's the same as any other job – the more you do it, the better you are at it."
He has broken into American TV and films
We know he has made it in America, given that he stars in the Netflix and Shondaland-produced Bridgerton, but before starring as Simon Basset, he made his mark on the US screen.
In 2016 he starred in Roots, the four-part TV adaption of Alex Haley's 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which also starred Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Anika Noni Rose and TI.
The mini-series tells the story of a family in the American South in the late 1700s into the 1800s, beginning in Gambia in 1760, when warrior Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby) is sold as a slave.
Page has criticised the label "slave drama" given to the mini-series, tweeting in March 2017: "While I'm here though, there is one thing still bugs me a little. The 'slave drama' thing. I don't think that's a genre. Roots is a 'slave drama' the same way Sense & Sensibility's a 'victims of the misogynist patriarchal trap' drama.
"I mean yeah, I get it, that’s a pretty big part of it, it’s y’know, in there. But it’s not what it’s about."
He concludes: "It’s about extraordinary, wonderful people and how they best their oppressive circumstances with resilience, charm, integrity and guile."
In 2020, Page starred opposite Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha as Chico Sweetney in 1950s jazz drama and love story, Sylvie's Love. The film has a 92 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.