James Purefoy Biography


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Birth Name: James Purefoy
Born: 06/03/1964
Birth Place: Taunton, Somerset, GB


Purefoy made his feature acting debut in "Feast of July," a period drama produced by Merchant Ivory. This debut didn't immediately jump-start a film career, and Purefoy instead spent his time performing with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and acting in television productions including the popular British period action series "Sharpe" and the British TV adaptation of "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" (1996). He returned to the Royal Shakespeare Company to act in Simon Callow's 1996 staging of "Les Enfants du Paradis." The following year, he reappeared on British small screens with a co-starring role in the critically lauded miniseries "A Dance to the Music of Time."

1998 saw the actor return to features with a pivotal supporting role as an appealingly rugged but sensitive heterosexual upon whom a gay acquaintance (Kevin McKidd) develops a crush in Rose Troche's winning and fresh "Bedrooms & Hallways". Becoming something of a crush object himself thanks to the charming role, Purefoy went against type and bulked up to play the downwardly spiraling drunk Tom Bertram in Patricia Rozema's somewhat revisionist take on Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park" (1999). The actor returned to the stage with "Four Knights in Knaresboro," a dark comedy produced at Kilburn's Tricycle Theatre the same year he was featured in the independents "The Lighthouse" and "Women Talking Dirty" (all 1999).

Purefoy kicked off 2000 with an appearance in the British miniseries "Metropolis" and made the most of a supporting turn as a seductive actor who strikes the fancy of the hormonal J ly Richardson in Ben Elton's less-than-impressive feature directorial debut "Maybe Baby." He again appeared on American television, portraying Carrasco in the TNT original "Don Quixote", while his delightfully sincere supporting turn as the Black Prince of Wales suitably impressed with the skills of the lowly squire (Heath Ledger) in "A Knight's Tale" (2001) introduced him to an even larger USA audience. A co-starring role in the eagerly-awaited action thriller "Resident Evil" (2002) would prove the actor's breakthrough with the American audience. Later that year, he starred in the small screen remake of Thomas Hardy's novel "The Mayor of Casterbridge" (A&E, 2003).

Purefoy next appeared in the European films "Photo Finish" (2003), "George and the Dragon" (2004) and "Blessed" (2004) before garnering much attention from Hollywood in his next role, playing Reese Witherspoon's high-born lover Rawdon Crawley in director Mira Nair's stylish 2004 adaptation of the classic William Thackery novel "Vanity Fair." Purefoy was then cast as a regular in his first television series, portraying Marc Antony in HBO's sprawling historical epic, "Rome" (2005- ). The role of the loyal foot soldier to Julius Caesar (CiarĂ¡n Hinds) gave Purefoy romantic notions of playing a noble character. But the truth, as always, was stranger than fiction. The real Marc Antony, however, was a wild man-a drunken party animal who enjoyed his women as much as battle-making the character "great fun to play."




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