Bridgerton has become Netflix’s most successful show to date for two main reasons: beautiful people and lots of drama. But behind the scenes, life is imitating art, as breakout actor Regé-Jean Page, who played Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, is embroiled in some intrigue that even Lady Whistledown couldn’t have written. Pour a cup of piping hot English breakfast tea, because this one will raise eyebrows.
Last month, it was announced that Page would not be returning for the show’s second season. His storyline had effectively concluded and he’d only signed a contract for one year, he told Variety. “I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on.” As a semi-anthology series, this makes sense — each season of the show focuses on one of the Bridgerton siblings, and after getting over his emotional unavailability, the Duke started a family with Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dyvenor) and all seemed well with the Hastings.
But a new report from the Hollywood Reporter offers more insight into Page’s departure. Sources told THR that Page was offered a role in “three to five episodes” at a rate of $50,000 per episode, but he declined the opportunity. He has other projects in the works, including the Dungeons and Dragons live-action movie based on the tabletop role-playing game of the same name, and THR says that “Page's camp has also been flooded with film offers.” Half the internet seems to be rooting for him to get an audition to fill James Bond’s shoes after all.
No word, yet, on how the show will handle his departure. Perhaps they’ll pull a Fraiser, and he’ll be a frequently mentioned, but completely off-screen spouse like Niles’s wife Maris Crane.
Alas, life for the Bridgerton family will go on without Simon’s smoldering gaze, but Page is only getting started on our screens. Thirsty fans everywhere will eagerly follow his next move.