Departing Bridgerton star Rege Jean Page is not in contention for the James Bond role.
Rege walked away from the Netflix series because he wanted to “strike while the iron was hot” for his career.
Show creator Shonda Rhimes shared her shock at the backlash the announcement that Page wouldn't be returning for the second series of the hit show.
She told Vanity Fair: "[T]here’s a lot of fantastically interesting talk that’s been going on, mainly ’cause I think people are having a hard time letting go. He’s a busy man!"
Insiders say that Rege’s US management walked away from a £50,000 an episode deal preferring to cash in on Bridgerton’s global success in other shows.
They insist there “was no fall out” with show boss Shonda Rhimes, but a “parting of the ways” which allowed Rege to pursue leading man roles – rather than several scenes this time around.
The LA TV source insisted that he did not quit Bridgerton for the James Bond casting.
They said: “Rege may be the bookies favourite, but producer Barbara Broccoli won’t consider a new 007 until Daniel finishes his No Time To Die promotion – simply out of respect for Daniel.”
The source added: “We are almost a year away from the process really beginning. And in that time other names will come into the picture.
“Barbara is never one to simply pick the hottest star of the moment. Everyone has to audition and go through a vetting process – everyone… yes everyone has to pass her tests.
“And they are not happening this year.”
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Page continues to be the favourite for the coveted role, which would be following in the footsteps of current Bond Daniel Craig.
No Time to Die will be the actor's final film before he passes the baton on, and Rege-Jean is competing against the likes of Peaky Blinders star Tom Hardy and Grantchester's James Norton.
Bridgerton has been confirmed to return to Netflix for another three series.
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