James Purefoy may be known for playing intense and terrifying villains, but he's apparently also a bit of a sci-fi geek (not that there's anything wrong with that).
On "The Following," the former "Rome" star, 48, is terrifying serial killer and cult leader Joe Carroll, a character he likens to the USS Enterprise, especially since he's entering Monday night's season finale in a bit of a state.
You see, he's commandeered a small boat with only his ex-wife on board with him and they're both out for each other's blood. And, while Joe has far more experience taking someone's life than poor Claire (Natalie Zea), she's also just taken a fork to the already bleeding wound in his side.
How does all that relate to "Star Trek"? We'll let Purefoy explain.
We're a little concerned about Joe's medical condition at the moment.
Not just physical but mental. I think when that pesky wife of his decided to knife him, I think maybe that was the first hint he got that she wasn't going to get back with him.
She had been dropping a few hints…
I kind of felt he thought that they were just minor problems and that they would get over them with a little bit of therapy perhaps, a little couples group counseling or something. That was the first moment that he realized all was not well on the domestic front.
We've talked to Natalie Zea about that – she says Joe's romantic gestures could really use some work.
Really! I couldn't agree more. Joe is like the Starship Enterprise when the forcefield is up and nothing can touch him. That was the very first Klingon missile that breached the defenses and started a chain reaction in him of the insanity that had been constantly bubbling. He is a serial killer. Sure, he's very charming and he seems eloquent but he is somebody who is clearly mad and always has been.
Any kind of consistent behavior is merely him putting on a front. Joe is very theatrical. He puts on costumes and characters in that way and pretends to be one thing, whereas actually, underneath, he is a volcanic person because all of that's going on underneath him and actually he's just bats**t crazy.
Will we see him get any medical treatment for those gashes though? He's must be losing a lot of blood.
He is losing a lot of blood. He has been stitched up by somebody.
Yes, but now those stitches have been forked!
(Laughs). But now he has been forked and that may have caused some trouble with his stitches. Our show is a funny little show, one where you can get stabbed with an 11-inch bowie knife and survive, and, other moments, you can get stabbed in the side and die. It's all just the luck of the draw about where the arteries are.
With all the drinking, Joe and Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) are becoming more and more alike. Are they melding into each other?
We now know that Hardy is a killer as well, that Hardy has killed somebody in cold blood. So, does that make him better or worse or the same as Joe? It's all very interesting which side we come down on in these kinds of arguments.
Actually, it would be interesting to do a little body count. I would imagine that Ryan Hardy has killed more people in cold blood in the course of this series than Joe has. Many of them in self defense, but a number of them, we've seen him kill without even -- I mean, the girl, Amanda, she didn't even get to finish her sentence before he shot her. Hardy is not too interested in the due process of law -- I'm sticking up for Joe here a little bit -- or about reading people their rights or having a trial. He doesn't seem too concerned about that.
Emma (Valorie Curry) implied that the reason people are becoming Joe's followers is to be featured in his book. Is that really it?
I think that's her take on it. One of the things we always have to remember with Joe's followers when people are looking for consistency or why they would do this kind of thing is they are all crazy! Nobody is innocent. They're all people who have killed or who have fantasized about being involved in violence. Every single last mad, mad jackal of them.
Is Joe going to care about losing Jacob (Nico Tortorella)?
I'm not entirely sure Joe actually ever finds that out, to tell you the honest truth … I don't think he really cares all that much because Joe is really all about Joe. It's an ugly truth, but he's a psychopathic, narcissistic, egomaniac and really, everything is about him when it comes down to it. Which isn't really a very attractive trait in anybody, but there we go.
How much of Joe's backstory do you already know? Do you know how he started killing?
I've actually written quite a long backstory to Joe … I'm someone who needs a very detailed backstory and when we first started shooting it, we just didn't have time to sit down and draw his line from birth to the point when he started killing people. I did do that – I sat down and did that for myself. Whether Kevin [Williamson] uses that or is interested in that, I have no idea.
So how old do you imagine Joe was when he killed his first squirrel? Because, isn't that always the way with serial killers?
Joe killed his mother. In my backstory, Joe's father was an almost very famous author himself and he was also a rampant alcoholic who had very serious issues about being what he thought of as a man and he taught Joe to kill things, to kill animals. Joe's first killing was his own mother.
Much like Emma.
Yes, except that in my backstory, Joe's own mother was quadriplegic. I don't think you want to hear me talk about this. It gets very, very dark. I haven't told anybody else about this. It's really too gruesome to speak of.
Do you think they'll ever publish Joe Carroll's fictional books like they have with Richard Castle of "Castle" and "Bad Twin" from "Lost"?
Oh no. Only as a curiosity because he's a very bad writer. He thinks he's Ernest Hemingway but he's not. It's the jibberings of a mad man. Would you want to read a book by Charles Manson? I could read a page, but I don't think I could read a whole novel.
Poe's collected works is a little limiting -- do you think we'll see a new author come into focus in the second season?
I don't know. Am I even in Season 2? Who knows?
"The Following" season finale airs on Monday, April 29, at 9 p.m. on Fox. Watch a sneak peek: