Rege-Jean Page, who plays the the iconic Chicken George — created in the original series by Ben Vereen — in History’s remake of “Roots,” started acting as a hobby at 14, before going on to book roles in film and TV series such as “Fresh Meat,” “Survivor,” and BBC’s “Waterloo Road.” “I always had something to say for myself and it sometimes got me in trouble,” Page joked of his younger self. “Roots” is an eight-hour event series that will air over four consecutive nights, from May 30-June 2, on History, A&E and Lifetime.
Sharpening His Skills
The 26 year old studied at the Drama Centre London, where he received a BA in acting in 2013. “It has a reputation for being overly intense and scary and that drew my attention right way,” said the British actor. “I learned how to be light about my work while taking it serious.” Page said learning about culture was very important during his studies and before taking any role he asks, “Why this story and why now?”
Close to Home
The son of British and Zimbabwean parents, Page said the role of Chicken George was one “I grew up knowing very personally.” The actor said he was drawn to the uniqueness of the character and that Chicken George was a man “the likes of which no one has ever seen.” “It was a large personal journey,” said Page. “The more I learned from George, the more I learned about myself.”
A Broader Perspective
Page’s upbringing has included travels through Africa, the U.K. and the U.S. He said hearing different opinions and having diverse experiences have helped his acting. “I think it’s very useful growing up in different places across the world,” said Page. “Traveling expands your mind. Growing up in Zimbabwe and looking at art you get a very useful perspective.”
Despite being a TV veteran in the U.K. and having lead roles in “Roots” and ABC’s upcoming drama “Spark,” Page said he does not want his career defined by a “breakout” role. “You have to remain reaching for the moment,” the actor said. “You grow with every role and absorb things from them. I think it’s interesting to define things as I go.”