The 17th-Century Man With No Name
Living by his bloodied blade and savouring a life of pillage and plunder, Solomon Kane must pay the price when the devil comes calling. But Kane won’t give up his soul that easily – he escapes the Reaper’s clutches and seeks redemption by renouncing his mercenary ways and devoting himself to valiant deeds and piety. Of course, those murderous impulses return quicker than you can say fiery pits of hell.
Kane is the invention of Robert E Howard, the man who created Conan The Barbarian. His sword-and-sorcery escapades were a regular feature in the Depression-era pulp mag Weird Tales and now he’s making his belated leap to the big-screen, courtesy of director Michael J. Bassett and James Purefoy, who finally gets to wear the black cape and wide-brimmed hat that was cruelly snatched from him on V For Vendetta (Purefoy got the sack early on and was replaced by Hugo Weaving as V). That’s not his main reason for wanting to raise Kane though…
“He’s just a really cool character,” Purefoy tells Buzz. “I was very influenced by Clint Eastwood when I was growing up. I’d sit in front of his movies wearing a poncho – I’m not kidding, 12 years old – and my mother would give me a cheroot to smoke. He was the coolest person I’d ever seen in my life. I was always drawn in because he was such a taciturn enigma. And to my mind, Solomon is the 17th-Century Man With No Name.”
Grittily shot and infused with mud, blood and filth, Solomon Kane evokes the films of Michael Reeves, in particular his 1968 classic Witchfinder General. Using various bits of Kane lore, Bassett has concocted an origin story that sends Kane off through strife-torn 17th-Century England, his flesh scarred by spiritual symbols, to link up with a Puritan clan (led by Pete Postlethwaite) and battle thugs, witches and demonic hordes. “In Howard’s stories, he’s a fully formed character,” says Bassett. “Where our story ends, Howard’s starts, so there’s plenty of material for sequels.”
With swashbuckling derring-do, brilliantly gloomy production design and Purefoy providing a charismatic anti-hero, Kane had Buzz buzzing at the Toronto Film Festival. “There are so many silly fantasy movies,” Bassett states. “I wanted to take fantasy to a darker, more intense place. And Solomon Kane is one of the most interesting, conflicted heroes there is.”