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James Purefoy

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Birthdate: N/A
Status: Single
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Biography

Purefoy was born into a "upper-middle class family" in Taunton, Somerset. He was a boarder at Sherborne School which he left with only one O-level. So he went to night school and got 11 more, then took his A-levels. He then studied acting at one of Britain's top drama schools, the Central School of Speech and Drama, while selling, with difficulty, copies of the Socialist Worker in his spare time. His early professional roles included Romeo in Romeo and Juliet in Leatherhead, Walter in Mary Morgan at the Riverside Studios and Alan Strang in Equus on tour.

He subsequently joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 1988 and appeared in The Constant Couple, Macbeth, The Tempest, The Man Who Came to Dinner (Gene Saks, Barbican) and King Lear as Edgar.

Elsewhere, he has also appeared as Laertes in Hamlet at the Bristol Old Vic (1991) Brian in William Gaminara's Back Up the Hearse and Let them Sniff the Flowers at the Hampstead Theatre (1992), Roland Maule in Noel Coward's Present Laughter at the Globe Theatre (1993), Biff in Death of a Salesman, alongside Ken Stott and Jude Law, at the West Yorkshire Playhouse (1994), Tony in The Servant at the Birmingham Rep (1995). He returned to the RSC for Simon Callow's stage adaptation of the film classic, Les enfants du paradis at the Barbican. He also played Hugh de Morville in Paul Corcoran's Four Nights in Knaresborough at the Tricycle Theatre, (1999) and Loveless in Trevor Nunn's production of The Relapse at the National Theatre in 2001.

Purefoy was attached to star in the 2006 film V for Vendetta, but was replaced by Hugo Weaving. (Both Purefoy and Weaving starred in the 1998 gay British comedy, Bedrooms and Hallways.) It was later revealed that Hugo Weaving had been originally first choice for the film, but was involved in the Australian film Eucalyptus. Later, production of Eucalyptus had been halted, freeing up Weaving, and Purefoy had willingly left V for Vendetta because the Guy Fawkes mask made him extremely uncomfortable.

Purefoy was screen tested for the role of James Bond in 1995 for Goldeneye, but ultimately lost the role to Pierce Brosnan. Throughout 2004 and 2005 Purefoy's name was rumoured as a possible candidate to replace Brosnan as agent 007 in future James Bond films. Rumors and speculation by many news outlets suggested that Purefoy's departing of V for Vendetta was due to an opportunity to play James Bond in the 2006 film Casino Royale. However, this news was confirmed to be false when Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond.

Interestingly, in the commentary track of the A Knight's Tale special edition DVD, director Brian Helgeland stated his opinion that Purefoy would be the perfect choice to play the "next" James Bond, well before Purefoy was being considered for the Casino Royale role.

Purefoy has a son, Joseph (born in 1997), with actress Holly Aird, from whom he separated in 2002. He dated Gwyneth Paltrow for a brief time in 2002 and has also dated Coyote Ugly star Piper Perabo and Cold Feet star Fay Ripley, with whom he spent 11 years.



 


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