Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Male on Monday...and the winner is...

Anne McAllister here. About this ‘Male on Monday’ slot. . . I didn’t grovel. Or beg. Or plead. I offered. Really. It was the least I could do.

Trish, Ally, Nic and Natasha are dreadfully overworked. Last week they didn't give us just one male on Monday. They gave us three! Their devotion to duty is obsessive. Next thing you know they’ll be falling behind on their deadlines, staying up all night, working their eyeballs to the bone ogling all these gorgeous men. We can’t have that.

So I did what any kindhearted, thoughtful, self-sacrificing romance author would do. I said, “Would you like me to take one of those arduous difficult Monday blog pieces off your hands? Give you a break? Spare you one week of having to track down yet another gorgeous hunk?”

And if I appeared to be drooling in anticipation, it was not because I always drool when I think about James Purefoy. Never.

Well . . . almost never.

However, as you can see, James Purefoy is a very tempting male indeed.

James first came onto my radar as Edward, the black prince, in The Knight’s Tale. There were, of course, other gorgeous men in that film -- Rufus Sewell. Heath Ledger. But the minute my gaze locked on the enigmatic Edward, I said, “Who’s he?”

And thanks to IMDB, I found out. As far as I was concerned they told the wrong knight's tale in that movie. But at least it woke me up, and I kept an eye out for James Purefoy after that.

With his dark good looks, ability to brood and smoulder, then turn on a toe-curlingly sexy grin and twinkling eyes, not to mention do a very nice love scene whenever required, he could have spent his whole career as a handsome leading man.

Instead he's been all over the acting map -- from the Royal Shakespeare Company to the cast of the sci-fi horror video-game film Resident Evil.

When he played the lead in a docu-drama Blackbeard, a man James calls, "the best pirate of all time . . . an extraordinary man who was really good at his job," he could have been speaking of his own career when he added, "You never quite knew what he was going to do next."

He played alcoholic Tom Bertram in Mansfield Park, the am-I-straight-or-am-I-not Irishman Brendan in Bedrooms and Hallways, the psychopathic rapist in Calling the Shots, Becky Sharp’s handsome besotted gambler husband in Vanity Fair, the sartorially elegant Beau Brummell in the BBC production of the same name, a conflicted soldier in Sharpe’s Sword, a self-absorbed actor in Maybe Baby, a dragon slayer in George and the Dragon, and, most recently, Mark Antony in the television series, Rome.

The breadth of his choices is by design.

He says, “I think if you want to have longevity in this business, then you have to do lots of different things . . . it's crucial to keep moving as it stops people putting you in boxes.”

So as Rome finishes, he is moving in a different direction yet again to a Showtime television pilot, Manchild, based loosely on the British series, in which he'll play Joe -- wealthy, virile and determined not to date any woman over 25 -- the unspoken leader of a group 40-something men in mid-life crises. It might be enough to get me to subscribe to Showtime!

And who is James Brian Mark Purefoy when he's not busy being all these other people?

Born 3 June, 1964 in Taunton, Somerset, he grew up in Somerset, goes back as often as he can, and says it's still the place he feels most at home. He was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset, after which he worked two years as a porter at Yeovil District Hospital a job which he says opened his eyes to a great deal of the world he hadn't seen before.

After studying at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he spent two years with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has since divided his time among theatre, film and television projects. Though he's never married, he had a long-time relationship with actress Holly Aird with whom he has a son, Joseph.

He says single parenting is "tough, but you just get on with it." Apparently getting on with it includes building a terrific treehouse for his son which he enjoyed so much he said he'd love to build more -- "just contact his agent."

Besides his obvious good looks and charisma, it's his very expressive face that makes me keep seeing my tall dark-haired heroes as characters James Purefoy might play.

His glib self-absorbed actor in Maybe Baby could have been one of my heroes before the heroine shaped him up. Rawdon Crawley's love for his son was so vivid I ached for him when they were separated in Vanity Fair. The personal anguish and final desperate honor he invested in Jack Spears in Sharpe's Sword were starkly visible and real.

He goes straight to the emotional core of characters. A self-confessed "blubberer" who can cry at commercials, he can find a humanity in characters who can seem brutal or crass.

The more I watch him, the more I add to my list of favorites -- small moments on screen in which James perfectly captures an aspect of a character -- his hopes, his dreams, his pain, his joy, his bemusement, his anguish, his delight, his despair.

It's research, after all. And they're all performances that make wonderful grist for the writer's mill.

And then, too, as Lucy Gordon said after seeing Beau Brummell, "He does strip beautifully, doesn't he?"

Er, yes. He did in Rome, too. And here. James-not-quite-in-a-towel. Wouldn't you know?

Definitely a man of many talents.


ps: the 'leftover' pix are on my blog.

Anne's upcoming release is: The Santorini Bride a February 2007 Harlequin Presents.

Check out more about this book at her

Or check out what Anne is working on now at her


  1. JBMP...

    It all makes gorgeous sense! What a talent. Thanks Anne, it seems I have a lot of movies to catch up on. I might be busy for some time...

  2. Definitely worth a look, Trish. I'm willing to share -- especially if I can then imagine your heroes as James!

  3. Well Anne, it was well worth the wait :) Must say I wasnt aware of him before but that second to the last pic is definitely hero material. The look in his eyes, the grin, those lips... *sigh*
    Not even touching the not-quite-in-a-towel pic :D

  4. No wonder I didn't guess. I've never heard of JBMP and, hello, why not??? I'm going to have to pay more attention. I can see I have been derelict in my reserach, as well as derelict in getting here seeing as Trish beat me.


  5. No, Jopee, probably better to leave the towel alone!

    And Bron, all I can say is, you work too hard. And you don't do enough research in the right places!

  6. Anne! I can't believe these guys beat me here. Especially since you know that I am absolutely with you on the drolling adoration of this guy.

    I first discovered him in 'A Dance to the Music of Time' in which he was just too pretty for words. And then again in 'Maybe Baby' where he was quite simply sexy as. And then again in 'A Knight's Tale' in which he stole the show. Elegant, subtle, gorgeous, and utterly heroic.

    Love the post, love the pics, love the towel...


  7. He's beautiful!!!! OK, unless your under 24 who has that body? So, like Trish, I have a lot of movie watching ahead and Anne, can't wait for your next release.

  8. Anne, you've done it again - picked a terrific guy to discuss online! I vote the Pink Heart girls let you take over, er, help them out again some Monday when they're feeling pooped from ogling gorgeous men.

    Well done! Have read every word, absorbed lots of info and am thinking about the movies I've got to see.

    Feeling quite rejuvenated and ready for another stint of writing. Er, did I happen to mention I'm writing a rather intimate scene? Thanks for the inspiration!


  9. Thanks, Ally, Marilyn and Annie. Glad you're all inspired. I've still got a few of his "backlist" to catch up on. Ah, research!

  10. James Purefoy is lovely.
    He was the inspiration for my hero in Sold and Seduced which comes out in the UK in April...

    I read an interview in one of the UK papers. And he was asked about the full frontal nude scene in Rome. Apparently one of his first roles was in Equus, and after that, he has never been preturbed about appearing nude.

    And yes, BeauBrummell is definately worth watching.
    A hero for all eras is James... and a very good choice.

  11. Never seen him before, but, yes, he is quite yummy! Kept going back to the 'towel pic'.

    Who wouldn't?!

  12. Thank you my dear friend for your selfless devotion to the cause of helping others. Your dedication to research is legendary and now we can all appreciate the results . . . pauses to mop up small puddle of drool that is threatening keyboard.

    I'm stunned that Trish and Bron have had their hero-education so lacking that they haven't discovered this source of inspiration yet - and they really romance novelists? one is forced to ask. But I can't help but envy - I mean sympathise with them on the amount of reseach they have ahead of them.

    Thank you for getting my morning off to a wonderful start. I may just have to go back and take another look - here and at your blog . . .


  13. Anne, having waited impatiently for this, the PHS was my first port of call this morning, to find so many here ahead of me!!!!

    Just have to thank you so much for the self-sacrifice in putting yourself forward to the Male on Monday slot. I am sure it was a real trial for you to have to do this but you have been a real trooper and I am sure we are all very grateful!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now off to have a look at the leftovers on your blog!!


  14. Anne
    I just had to follow and check out more pics of sexy James.
    My son walked by the computer when I had the last picture up in your blog and he asked "What are you looking at?" I simply answered "Research by a fabulous author"

  15. Michelle, well, I will definitely be looking out for Seduced and Sold so I can imagine James as the hero. Just exactly who was seduced and sold? I want to know.

    Nicolette, you're right. Who wouldn't keep going back to the towel pic?!

    Kate, so glad you appreciate all the time and effort it took me to do this when I should have been doing my synopsis! But then, priorities, you know!

    Mags, glad you enjoyed it. Maybe you could find him work in Scotland? As a GP? Think of all the women who would be getting sick. And would he make house calls?

    Christa, Hope we didn't shock your son! And thank you for such a wonderful tribute!

  16. I'll do my best, Anne, although I have quite a stuffed file of pics for hero inspiration!! The one of James in the towel affair is definitely going in there, though!

    All my fictional doctors (and nurses, paramedics, etc) are the kind I wish we could all find in real life - and not just because of their looks! Because of their genuine care for those in need. And yes, my GPs always do house calls!!!!!!!!


  17. Now he's one very, very impressive male!!!!!!

  18. Jennifer and Nic, glad you like him. Mags, I look forward to him turning up in your neighborhood as a GP who does house calls!

  19. Anne!! I'm breathless over here!!! Can't believe it's taken me all week to get to this - I've been on deadline so have had my head down. But HUBBA HUBBA! Actually, JP has been a favourite of mine for years. He used to pop up in the BBC adaptations of classics that we often have on TV on a Sunday night. Isn't he easy on the eye? Sigh. THANK YOU!!!

  20. Anna, glad you made it to visit James! Yes, very easy on the eye indeed. He's making my writing much easier at the moment. I just envision him playing the hero and I get right to work.