JW: What was it like working with Ridley and Tony Scott on this series? One of the things about the book that our readers found was they were so swept away with the relationships that the action kind of faded into the background. In the film, the action is front and center. 

RS: ... I suppose thing about a book is there are no budgetary limitations. There's no casting limitations. You cast, and then you do the best as you get along. You read it according to your imagination, and in your imagination you may spend more time imagining certain things, and kind of bloodthirsty fellow reading the same book might spend more time imagining the battles. It's about interpretation. 

But the battles—it's actually a very violent book, a very textual book, and that's just a matter of emphasis. What I like about this miniseries, which stops it from being too cheesy and mainstream TV, is it's sexual, it's dark and it's violent. And what you kind of get with a kind of Ridley and Tony Scott film is a very adult, very gritty, kind of feel to it. And I think that's what comes from both having permission to the material and them being behind it, but very much it was Sergio's direction. He's a very passionate and very human director. 

JW: Is the grittiness and the drama and the sexuality what sets this apart from other period pieces you've done? 

RS: For me, this is different from anything I've ever done because it's very a different character from anything I've ever done. I don't feel ever that I'm doing something that is devoid of those things, it's just a matter of how much emphasis is on them. 

JW: Tom's legacy ultimately is the cathedral. Looking at your own life, what would you most like your legacy to be?
RS: I'd like an omelet named after me. I'm not too ambitious about that kind of stuff. 

Author Ken Follett on casting Rufus as Tom 

Get to know more of The Pillars of the Earth cast 

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