James Purefoy is an English actor best known for his role as Mark Antony in the television period drama Rome, which aired on HBO from 2005-2007.
He currently stars as Professor Joseph "Joe" Carroll, a diabolical serial killer who created a cult of serial killers via the cyber library at the prison where he was being held, in the psychological thriller television series The Following, since 2013.
Purefoy was born and raised in Somerset, England and joined the Central School of Speech & Drama in London at the age of 18.
Spotted by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Purefoy left to go to Stratford-upon-Avon for two years where he took on prominent roles in King Lear, The Tempest and Macbeth.
Other stage credits include Women of Troy at the Gate, Death of a Salesman, Hamlet and Les Enfants du Paradis.
While firmly establishing his reputation in classical theatre and television drama, Purefoy came to the attention of an international audience with roles opposite Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale and Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil, and as Reese Witherspoon's love interest in Mira Nair's Vanity Fair.
At the same time he completed leading roles in many films within the U.K independent film sector, including Mansfield Park, Bedrooms and Hallways, Maybe Baby, Blackbeard and Beau Brummell.
In 2004, Purefoy moved to Italy to start filming the part of Mark Antony in HBO's epic series Rome.
Other film credits include Blessed, George and the Dragon, Don Quixote, Women Talking Dirty, Feast of July and the title role in the big-screen adaptation of Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane.
Purefoy was attached to star in the 2006 film V for Vendetta, but was replaced by Hugo Weaving. 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.
More recent film work includes Solomon Kane (2010), Ironclad (2011) and John Carter (2012). His television work includes Revenge, The Philanthropist, the cable series Camelot, as well as Britain's Injustice and Richard II, directed by Rupert Goold.
From Taunton, England, Purefoy splits his time between New York and the U.K.