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James Purefoy laments fall of Rome, talks rise of Camelot

James Purefoy, Rome

Story by Jack Foley

BRITISH actor James Purefoy has been talking about how much he regrets the decline of HBO series Rome, while promising the return of Mark Anthony in a different guise in the forthcoming Camelot.

Speaking at a junket to promote his latest film, Ironclad Purefoy said that he believes HBO regrets cancelling the Roman epic, while also pointing the finger at the BBC for the way it was treated in the UK.

“I know HBO regretted not doing it again,” he elaborated. “[But] I don’t think they quite realised how big it was going to be. And it was also blisteringly expensive – $11 million an hour.”

Commenting on the BBC’s treatment of it, he continued: “The BBC did a very strange thing where they put somebody in charge of re-editing the first three episodes here… who did such a shocking butchering of the pace and the effect of the first three episodes that we never really recovered from it… I mean it’s quite extraordinary how a hundred million dollar series can be given to a junior producer and editor and they f**k it up really badly.”

When pushed further on what happened, he added: “Somebody said: “Cut out a lot of the politics of the first three episodes, because the British public know a lot more about Roman history…” And that meant that it unbalanced it – it became much more about the sex and the violence. And so suddenly it became “The Rompy Rome”, “The Sex and the Sandals”. But actually, when people go back and they look at it, they go: “Actually, no, hang on, there’s much less of that”.”

Purefoy did say, however, that those missing Mark Anthony’s shenanigans should tune into Camelot when it airs, commenting: “They’ve stayed as close as they could to Le Morte d’Arthur and Thomas Malory and I think they’re going to do a great job.

“And again, they’ve got some fantastic actors in that. My character is very much Mark Antony in mediaeval times. If you were missing Mark Antony, tune into Camelot – he’s re-appeared, with a big beard [laughs].”

Read the full interview

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