“I DO think you go through various phases in your career,” James Purefoy is telling me. “British actors oftentimes go through the same phases. There’s the frilly shirt phase, there’s the big sword phase, there’s the bad guy phase and then there’s the character actor phase, isn’t there?”
Purefoy, now in his fifties, has done all of them. He’s been a frilly-shirted guy (in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Mansfield Park back in the 1990s and Vanity Fair back in 2004), the guy with the big sword (in Solomon Kane and Ironclad and, perhaps most memorably playing Mark Anthony, sometimes naked, in the TV series Rome) and, yes, he’s been the bad guy , a very bad guy, a serial killer in fact, in the TV series The Following.
So, what does that leave? Well, oilskins, apparently. Purefoy can be found in your local cinema today playing a Cornish fisherman in new movie Fisherman’s Friends, a wannabe crowd-pleaser that tells the story of the eponymous male singing group from Port Isaac who signed a record deal in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »
A new season of Hap and Leonard starts on SundanceTV March 7. The third season is inspired by the third novel in the series by Joe R. Lansdale, The Two-Bear Mambo. There are six episodes in the season.
The show is about the friendship between a couple peculiar guys in East Texas. Hap Collins, played by James Purefoy, is a straight white lothario, and Leonard Pine, played by Michael Kenneth Williams, is a gay black man.
Williams, who played Omar Little on The Wire, calls the characters “walking contradictions.” Read the rest of this entry »
Come Wednesday, March 7 on SundanceTV, Hap and Leonard season 3 will officially arrive! This season is subtitled “The Two-Bear Mambo,” and it is going to serve both as further exploration into the Hap and Leonard friendship as well as a reflection on modern-day issues. Over the course of this season you will see the title characters head to Grovetown, a place riddled with racism and the Ku Klux Klan. What they run into there will be so much more than either one of them ever bargained for.
In leading up to the start of the new season we were fortunate enough, for the second straight season, to do an interview with James Purefoy discussing some of what appeals to him about this season, the topical nature of the story, and also how he would prefer to film the next season of the series if given an opportunity.
CarterMatt – What made you excited about the story of The Two-Bear Mambo in the first place? Read the rest of this entry »
Women don’t fare well in Netflix’s Altered Carbon.
The series, a loud, visually stunning sci-fi set in a distant future where human consciousness can be transferred between bodies, sees the female form brutally beaten, maimed and laid bare as par for the course. The early reviews haven’t been kind:
Feb. 2 (UPI) — The Following alum James Purefoy says his new dystopian drama Altered Carbon is “a warning to us in the present.”
Now streaming on Netflix, the 10-part adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s novel is about a futuristic society in which human consciousness may be transferred between bodies, meaning the wealthy can essentially live forever by adopting another “sleeve” when the old one wears out. The series co-stars Renee Elise Goldsberry, Will Yun Lee, Martha Higareda and Ato Essandoh.
Asked by UPI at a roundtable interview Tuesday with reporters what appealed to him about telling this story, Purefoy replied: “I think working on anything where you are talking about a dystopian future on a show, which is very clearly a warning to us in the present. Read the rest of this entry »
Rome and The Following star James Purefoy appeared on Good Morning Britain today (January 18).
And nobody seemed more excited than Ben Shephard as he interviewed the actor with co-hosts Kate Garraway, Richard Arnold and Susanna Reid.
During the chat, the presenter couldn’t resist asking him about what it’s like to get completely naked for the camera in certain scenes.
“I have a huge admiration for you,” Ben explained. “I’m not scared of getting naked but it’s just in that sort of environment.” Read the rest of this entry »
For two seasons on HBO’s Rome, James Purefoy melted hearts and solidified his English hunk status as the fated Mark Antony in white-hot scenes opposite another fierce English actor, Polly Walker.
American audiences became hooked on Purefoy and the people who watched the series lived for the fiery and compelling scenes between these two actors.
After Rome was wrapped, Purefoy went contemporary in his American television character roles, first playing billionaire Teddy Rist in NBC’s The Philanthropist where he struck up a fortuitous friendship with co-star Michael Kenneth Williams. Read the rest of this entry »
True story: Just a few minutes into talking with The Following‘s James Purefoy about his new Sundance series Hap and Leonard, I manage to inadvertently call attention to his receding hairline.
In my defense, said hairline is the subject of the very first bit of dialogue in Hap and Leonard‘s series premiere (airing Wednesday at 10/9c)… and it’s conceivable that the series had pulled a Pete-on-Mad-Men and shaved Purefoy’s locks away for the part.
“Oh f—k no,” he says good-naturedly, laughing as I slowly die of embarrassment on the other end of the phone line. “I’m just losing it. You can make your hairline look a lot worse than it is, a few judicious pulls of hair here and there, tug it back, shave it away here and there. You can make yourself damn near bald.” Read the rest of this entry »
For three seasons on Fox’s “The Following,” James Purefoy played the maniacal serial killer Joe Carroll. In SundanceTV’s “Hap and Leonard,” he sheds that evil skin in favor of a charming Southern boy with a weakness for women. “What a relief it is!” he tells Variety. “It’s nice playing someone who’s got a heart, who’s a real man, not a coward. Which Joe Carroll kind of is.”
Unlike the psychopathic killer he played for three years, Purefoy says, “Hap is the best kind of man — gentle, strong, real. And wounded by his love.”
That love is embodied by Christina Hendricks, who stars as Trudy, the ex-wife who wanders back into his life armed with a get-rich-quick scheme he can’t resist. He can’t resist her either, much to the frustration of his best friend, Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams, “The Wire”). Their exploits in search of the elusive cash drive the six-episode event series, based on Joe Lansdale’s darkly comic novels. Read the rest of this entry »
In the new SundanceTV original series Hap and Leonard — which debuts Wednesday, March 2 at 10 p.m. EST — James Purefoy (Hap) stars alongside Michael K. Williams (Leonard) in a noir-inspired show set in the 1980s about two best friends — one a good ol’ East Texas white guy, and the other an openly gay, black Vietnam vet — who are down on their luck but on the hunt for some lost loot. It’s a simple get-rich-quick plan that of course goes awry, and hijinks ensue. Christina Hendricks of Mad Men fame plays the femme fatale of the show, which was created by director/writer Jim Mickle and writer Nick Damici and based on a series of books by Joe R. Lansdale.
We spoke to Purefoy recently about the show and how he came to star in it, the captivating horror of the current U.S. presidential race, the beauty of rural life, and how he’s happy to have never landed the role just about any male actor would kill for (James Bond, which Purefoy was reportedly considered for twice), among other things.
I’m always kind of amazed when actors who aren’t from the U.S. are able to portray Southern characters well. I thought you did a good job with Hap. I was a bit taken aback upon discovering that you’re British. Read the rest of this entry »