Apr 16, 2011

The Saint Reborn: James Purefoy Re-Canonized

Last weekend, Saint.org called attention to this enticing nugget on Sir Roger Moore's website hidden amidst his regular monthly Q&A: "I am told The Saint will film in July in New Orleans. I’m booked there from mid-July. More news as I get it." As far as I'm aware, the Saint to which he's referring is the latest incarnation of the ongoing attempt to launch a new Saint TV series, this time through a TV movie (and potential backdoor pilot) called The Saint in New Orleans. (This per a statement last December from sometime Saint continuation author and collaborator on the new project, Burl Barer, also reported on Saint.org.) But we've had so many false starts on this project over the last couple of years that I was hesitant to write about any of this until we heard something more concrete. Well, today there's finally something worth reporting on this very exciting project! On the CommanderBond.net forums where he's been carefully dispensing tidbits of information over the course of developing a new Saint show, Saint expert and co-producer Ian Dickerson has revealed the actor who will play the part—and it's a name halo-heads have heard before: James Purefoy!

Longtime readers will recall that Purefoy (Rome, Solomon Kane) was originally cast as Simon Templar back in 2007, when Barry Levinson was set to direct the TV reboot. That version of the project fell apart, and Purefoy moved on to the somewhat Saint-like series The Philanthropist instead (review here), rendering him unavailable for further attempts to get a new TV Saint off the ground. Dougray Scott's name was bandied about in conjunction with a later version, but in time that too collapsed. Now, years later, at last the stars have aligned and schedules have freed up, and it looks like Purefoy is once again attached to the project. Granted, it still has a long way to go before becoming a reality. Perhaps there's no cause for celebration until cameras are actually rolling (and Roger Moore possibly cameoing?), but, personally, I'm thrilled that Purefoy is back on board. That casting seemed so perfect. To me, he always seemed like not only the best but the only legitimate candidate to interpret Leslie Charteris' immortal adventurer in a new TV series. I hope everything comes together this time, because I can't wait to see his take!

And for Roger Moore fans, there's one other tantalizing tidbit buried in that March Q&A as well: Sir Roger reveals that in addition to the Blu-ray set from Network, there is also a new book on The Persuaders! in the pipeline to commemorate that series' 40th anniversary! Something else to look forward to.

5 comments:

Bob said...

I've read that Purefoy is very good in 'Solomon Kane". Hopefully one day it will be available on Region 1 dvd.

Tanner said...

Oh, he is! I really liked Solomon Kane overall. While it makes as many deviations from Howard as Milius's Conan, it struck me as quite faithful to the spirit of the stories overall. I was definitely left wanting a sequel at the end; it's too bad that will never happen now. I really don't understand why it never got a US release. It was certainly a much better movie than the similar Season of the Witch. (Of course, the worst thing about that movie, Nicholas Cage, was probably the very reason that one got US distribution.) That DVD I link to on Amazon, however, is an all-region one and supposedly NTSC, so even if it's an import, it should play...

Brian Drake said...

Okay, we know who will play Simon Templar, but there is another very important casting decision that hasn't been announced (or made?) as in, who will play Patricia Holm?

Tanner said...

Do we know Patricia Holm is in this version? When we heard about her in the casting sheets years ago, that was entirely another script. That one had Teal in it, too, but I can't imagine they'll drag poor Claude-Eustace to New Orleans! I do hope that Pat's still in there, though. I think former Bond Girl Rosamund Pike would be perfect, but she does mainly movies and I can't see her committing to a potentially (fingers crossed!) long-term TV role. My next choice would be Michelle Dockery from Downton Abbey, who also appeared briefly as Cate Blanchett's hapless double in Hanna. In Downton Abbey (which was excellent), I think she abely demonstrated she's got what it takes to be Patricia Holm. Hayely Atwell (from that dreadful Prisoner remake as well as Any Human Heart) would also be quite good, but since she's in Captain America now she might be moving away from television as well. You're right; if Patricia's in the script, it will be very interesting to see who gets cast!

Hoppy Uniatz said...

Patricia Holm does indeed feature...as does Fernack...