James Fox


In 1970 Fox played Chas in Nicholas Roeg's harrowing film ‘Performance’. This film presented Fox with a role that was a radical departure from his usual leading man and, light comedy mainstay. The story starts as a fast paced and violent London crime drama then switches gears less than half way through. Chas, (Fox) a brutal cockney thug, must go into hiding after killing two members of a rival gang. He ends up lodging in a strange house occupied by former Rock Star Turner(Mick Jagger) and his strange household of bohemian women. During this time, Chas comes to question his own perceptions and, definitions of gender roles and violence. Opinions on this film have been widely divided with some hailing it as a ground breaking masterpiece, others considering really dreadful. This particular reviewer considers it a cult movie and worthwhile a watch if you can get a copy of it.

Following the release of Performance, James began to search for answers to many spiritual issues and, opted to abandon film making all together. He became a Christian and would now concentrate on the development of Christian ministries. He joined an evangelical group called ‘The Navigators’ and became content with his life and himself. With the notable exception of a Christian film ‘No Longer Alone’ (1978) James Fox would not be seen in a film again until the 1980s.

In 1983 James Fox returned to film acting with Runners and has rarely been off the screen since. He appeared in two of 1984's biggest hits, ‘A Passage to India’ and ‘Greystoke: Legend of Tarzan’. He also appeared in the late 1950s themed film musical Absolute Beginners (1986).

As the 1990s arrived, he was as busy as ever. He played the Lord Holmes who is saved from assassination by Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) in Patriot Games (1992) and also gave a superb performance in Remains of the Day (1993). This film provided Fox with a character that was a semi-reprise of his role in the earlier film ‘Servant’. Here he played the well meaning British aristocrat duped by the Nazis in 1930s Britain; he delivers a standout portrayal. Most recently, he has starred in ‘The Mystic Masseur’, ‘The Golden Bowl’ and as the corrupt aristocrat in Jonathan Glazer's ‘Sexy Beast’.

No stranger to the small screen, Fox has also appeared in more than two dozen series and movies, including John Schlesinger's BAFTA Award-winning drama A Question of Attribution, for the BBC.

Special mention should be made of his comic performance in the much under-rated film ‘Mickey Blue Eyes’. He plays Philip Cromwell a bumbling auction house owner who acts as the foil for much of Hugh Grants humour. The classic scene is his interaction with the mafia boss towards the end of the movie.


Suggested films to see:

King Rat (1965)
A Passage to India (1984)
Performance (1970)



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