By Andrea Towers
June 11, 2021 at 01:19 PM EDT

Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page may be considered one of television's new heartthrobs, but the actor prefers to think of his role in the hit series as more than just eye candy.

While talking with The Crown actor Emma Corrin for Variety's Actor on Actors series, the two breakout stars discussed the popularity of their Netflix shows, their devoted fans, and how they were cast in their roles. Page also opened up about playing Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings - a role that made him a household name.

"I was like, OK, cool. It's a period drama. It's Jane Austen-esque. Why are we doing this now? What does it have to contribute?" Page revealed, explaining his thought process when he first read the script for the Netflix drama. "We have a couple hundred years between Jane Austen and where we're at now, which means we've got like five or six waves of feminism since. And so, in carrying the torch, we need to make some ground with it. Because Simon's an archetype that already exists. He's Darcy. He's Heathcliff. He's a tall, dark, brooding, emotionally stunted man."

When Corrin shared that she thought Simon's journey was interesting "in terms of unpacking masculinity," Page took it one step further, likening the show - and the emotional journey of its heroes, both make and female - to a McDonald's hamburger.

"We talk a lot with Bridgerton about it being female-centric, but also, what are men looking up to? What am I doing with this icon of masculinity? What's making this meal actually worth eating?" Page reflected. "I think of Bridgerton as a Happy Meal but with secret vitamins put in there. It's like a secretly healthy, organic burger."

Bridgerton is currently in production on season 2, and the popular series has already been preemptively renewed for seasons 3 and 4. But when Lady Whistledown graces our screens again, Page (and his hamburger analogies) won't be among its cast, as the actor recently announced he wouldn't be returning to the series.

"Pleasure and a privilege! An honour to be a member of the family - on and off screen, cast, crew and incredible fans - the love is real and will just keep growing," Page wrote on social media after the show announced the news a few months ago.

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