The Dungeons & Dragons press tour arrived in Berlin yesterday including Regé-Jean Page and Chris Pine. I’ve been thinking a lot about Regé-Jean lately because this project, and The Gray Man last summer, came to him after the success of Bridgerton season one, when he was indisputably the breakout star of the series up to that point. Which means more opportunity. Both of these opportunities happened to be supporting roles in big budget action/adventure movies, a swing away from the period piece romance of the ton and not a bad decision to showcase range. We’ve seen him as the smoldering, tormented romantic hero, we know he can do that. Now we can see that he can also get physical in a different way, perform stunts and quippy comedy, giving casting agents another option.
That said, RJP doesn’t yet have any work lined up beyond D&D – and if he does it hasn’t yet been announced. It’s something he touched on in his interview with Vanity Fair last month when asked about whether or not he worries about the next job:
“I don’t think you’re ever passed that point. I think there’s a healthy amount of wolf-at-the-door that kind of keeps you getting up every morning. And I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. I enjoy the striving. I enjoy the discovery of how high this thing goes, of how far this thing goes, of how wide this thing goes, because it doesn’t just go up. It goes up, down, sideways, and in every other direction. I don’t think I’ll ever stop thinking about the next job.
A good 90% of my industry is out of work at any given time. You know what I mean? We’re living a charmed life and I don’t think we get to take the charm for granted at any point.”
That is 100% true of acting for almost 100% of the people who are acting. Like, sure, George Clooney doesn’t necessarily have to worry about the next job anymore but there are very few George Clooneys. So for someone like RJP, who broke out on a hit series, nothing is ever guaranteed. And that uncertainty escalates when you are a person of colour.
Stephanie wrote yesterday in her Djimon Hounsou post about the disparity in prospects for artists of colour in comparison to their white counterparts, even when they are nominated or win awards. The fact of the matter is, the industry is still set up to advantage some over others. Go look at the difference in the IMDb pages between Regé-Jean Page and Paul Mescal.
But then there’s Bond, James Bond. RJP keeps coming up on the list of possibilities for the next Bond. He’s trying not to engage – at this point it’s just rumours. And people have been burned in this business for trading in rumours:
“It’s a conversation people are having, and it’s terribly flattering that they’re having it. I leave them to it."
Right…but would he do it? If they asked?
“I have no idea. It’s not a thing that is fully occupying my thoughts. I’ve got enough on my plate at the moment. I worry about the work I have, not other people’s jobs.”
It’s a smart answer. To avoid even talking about the possibility. I mean I don’t believe that he’s never considered it, because how could he not, but I do believe that it’s not “fully occupying” his thoughts – because it can’t. The business is so unpredictable, and everything can come and go so quickly, and also… as a Black man, he probably knows better than to put a lot of faith in whether or not an iconic British character would actually not be a white man.