Solomon Kane speaketh

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

Yesterday Empire Magazine (the world's biggest -and best- movie magazine) hosted a webchat with James Purefoy in advance of Solomon Kane's UK cinema release this Friday 19 February.

During the almost an hour long chat with fans. James Purefoy came across as forthcoming, direct, down to earth and charming. Also he didn't shy away from tricky questions. Too be honest despite his pedigree I have not seen the bulk of Purefoy's much acclaimed work. To my shame my Rome Season One Box Set is a still unopened treasure.

In the works I have seen he shines with blinding intensity and gives anything he is in an immediate air of credibility. Easy to see why he was a possible choice for James Bond.

Amongst other fans theestablishingshot.com got to ask Purefoy a couple of questions. I opened the session (I think) with:

The Establishing Shot: Hi Mr Purefoy, thanks for chatting. Can you tell me a little about the appeal of the Solomon Kane character for you?

James Purefoy says:
Yes - we don't have many British action-adventure heroes. We have Mr Bond, Mr Potter and we have Mr Bean. I felt there might be room for one more. I also liked the Clint Eastwood-esque characteristics of the man. He's very reticent, uncommunicative, but expresses himself through action rather than words.
Sweet! That is good to hear, because back in September 09 I blogged "Solomon Kane was a puritan that wondered the face of the Earth with no destination and a zero tolerance for evil. Think a middle ages Clint Eastwood that encounters supernatural beings" and "I was [sic] keen to see James Purefoy as the stoic Solomon Kane". So it seems that Solomon Kane will indeed be a man of few words as originally intended. That's the way I like my evil defeating protagonists. Ands let's be honest, any way you slice it Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry is still the archetype of cool (only beating Plissken down on sheer volume).

My understanding is that Solomon Kane is intended as the first film in a trilogy. It certainly sounds like Purefoy would like Kane to return to the screen more than once and hopefully enter the cinematic hall of Great English heroes.

The_EST says: Talking about great UK characters. Can you give any credence to the rumours that you were considered for James Bond & The Saint TV Show? :) I thought this may be a bit cheeky as actors generally shy away from discussing roles that they did not get, especially if it is James Bond related. But Purefoy had no hesitation and was straight in like a pit bull. (Point Break)

James Purefoy says:
Yes and yes. A few of us went up for Bond when Pierce was going to do it, and I think we were just putting our marker down for the next time. As for The Saint, that was going to happen, but the producers were using an unusual business model that the networks found hard to get their heads around, and so it fell apart
Wow! Both iconic roles and to be honest the more I see Purefoy in action the more I think he would make a great Bond. A reboot of The Saint TV show has been in pre-production hell way before Val Kilmer's turn on the big screen in 1997. I remember reading about this in Roger Moore's Autobiography "My Word Is My Bond" as well as a little in Joe Eszterhas' autobiography "Hollywood Animal" a couple of years ago.

Eszterhas and William J. MacDonald are connected via Hollywood Legend Robert Evans and all were involved in Sliver and Jade. MacDonald got the rights to The Saint for Evans in 1991 and they produced Kilmer's 1997 Saint. In 2004 Macdonald acquired the film rights to The Saint and has been trying to get a TV show off the ground since then. It came close in 2007. It was to be co-produced by MacDonald, Jorge Zamacona and Roger Moore's son George. Barry Levinson was attached to direct and Purefoy was to star. After the Turner Network backed out of a deal it was decided that the core team would produce the show independently.

Artwork shown at Cannes 2008 for The Saint TV show starring James Purefoy

But I digress. Anyway MacDonald Produced and wrote Rome and clearly sees what Purefoy may bring to the role of Simon Templar. It's a shame that Purefoy won't be the new Saint, yet there are striking similarities between the planned Saint series and The Philanthropist. What do you think?

The Philanthropist
A wealthy philanthropist's life is changed when a hurricane hits the Nigerian town he was visiting. During the storm the billionaire rescues a young boy. These events lead him to pursue his new found passion for helping those in need.

The Saint (2008)
The Saint. His current assignment has him in Montenegro, rescuing captive children from being sold on the black market. When the operation is finished, Templar discovers that one of the children is missing. An orphan once himself, he vows to rescue the lost boy, no matter what the cost.

The_EST says: I'm enjoying the Solomon Kane trailer and looking forward to the film but I have to ask - how close do you feel Solomon Kane the film is to the Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane? Or do they reside in 2 different "universes" almost like a reboot?

James Purefoy says:
As far as I'm aware, the fans of the books are very happy with the tone of the movie and the way I play the character. Some are a little less happy at the "origin" nature of the story, but here's the thing: when our producers took a script of Solomon Kane to the market where he started off fully-formed, the market rejected it out of hand, and said that they were only prepared to back a film of Solomon Kane if it included an origin story. That's show BUSINESS for you."
My main concern for Solomon Kane is that it is actually geared for newer, younger viewers. The bulk of which enjoy the more CGI laden style over substance material. Nothing wrong with this. Times and tastes change. However the teen market is the biggest audience in the world and films are sometimes shaped for this audience at the expense of other viewers. So if fans of the books are happy chances are the story will be engaging enough to keep me happy.

Regarding including Kane's origin, it does make sense, all though Solomon Kane has been around since the 1920s and was borne from the imagination of Robert E Howard as were Conan, Red Sonja, and Kull the Conqueror and has a huge comic fandom he is relatively unknown to the mainstream. So introducing his back story early on will allow the audience will see him develop as a character and his stoic ways will be easier to understand. Also, if the planned trilogy does develop the bigger story arc across the 3 films would be tidier if there was a sense of chronological order.

The_EST says: I'm not sure how much time you spent with him but what was it like working with Max von Sydow and which actors have you really enjoyed working with or been challenged by (in the good sense)?

James Purefoy says:
Well, Max is a legend of five decades of cinema, and if you have any intelligence
at all as an actor, the day he arrives on set is the day you sit back, watch and learn. He had some particularly nasty exposition to do that day, which he delivered faultlessly. I watched, I learned."
Max von Sydow plays Josiah Kane, Kane's father in the film and is a heroic character himself. I was a little surprised at Purefoy's answer as he is a classically trained actor, he honed his craft as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company and it doesn't get much better than that as far as acting credentials go. I would have thought that he would have positioned himself as a "colleague" as many actors do when working with the "greats". But again Purefoy was straight and with no conceit. At this point I had decided that I would be seeing Solomon Kane in the cinema regardless of whether reviews or positive or negative.

The_EST says: I was curious as to how you first got involved in Solomon Kane?

James Purefoy says:
Mike and I had been talking about doing a film for about 10 years, but could
never find the right thing. He just called me in and asked me to read the script and look at the artwork, and then asked me to do it. It's as simple as that."
Michael J. Bassett is the Writer and Director of Solomon Kane. Earlier on in response to LeeRosher Purefoy said: The great thing about Michael is that he is a film geek, so he was making the film that he himself would want to see as a fanboy. His knowledge of film is encyclopaedic, he's very collaborative, and an all-around good guy. We need to support the good guys, because there are an awful lot of arseholes out there.

Some other interesting answers from Purefoy included:

CianB says: What do you think of Solomon Kane being compared to Van Helsing ? The Characters do look a lot alike!
Let's get this straight, once and for all: when Stephen Sommers was making
Van Helsing, he ripped off the entire look of Van Helsing from Solomon Kane. So I'm afraid that Van Helsing looks like Solomon Kane, and not the other way around. Kane was created in the 1920s, and has been around a lot longer."
Van Helsing may have stolen from Kane's wardrobe but I'm hoping that Kane has not gone the same route of too much reliance on CGI monsters and not left enough budget or film time for great character or story development.

jamster_473 says: Fancy telling us what you were expelled for?
What everybody gets expelled for, surely: stealing a combine harvester."

Thanks James Purfoy & Empire
A full transcript of the chat can be found here on the Empire website.

James Purefoy Solomon Kane webchat
Solomon Kane is in cinemas from Wednesday 17 February.

The Solomon Kane website can be found here > http://www.solomonkanethemovie.com/

James Purefoy will be making an appearance at Forbidden Planet, London more info here!

Michael J Basset writer & director of Solomon Kane can be found here on Twitter @michaeljbassett and his blog is http://michaeljbassett.wordpress.com/!

Paul Berrow Producer of Solomon Kane can be found on Twitter here @paulberrow

Empire Magazine (the world's biggest -and best- movie magazine) can be found here! or followed on Twitter here > @empiremagazine