Interview with Ioan Gruffudd

Ioan Gruffudd is known best for his role of Mr. Fantastic in the “Fantastic Four” series.  Ioan also starred this year in “Sanctum” and will be co-starring opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar in this Fall’s new show “Ringer” on The CW.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ioan about his new show and what we can expect from his character.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you become attached to the new CW drama “Ringer”?
Ioan Gruffudd: I was going through pilot scripts as every actor sort of does and this one stood head and shoulders above the others that I was right for. Having Sarah Michelle Gellar already attached to the project was a massive attraction as this was going to be her return to television. I went and sat down with the creators and Sarah Michelle and they pitched me this wonderful arc for the character and for the show itself. It was sort of a no brainer really. There were some other bonus elements like the fact that we shoot in Los Angeles, which is great especially since I have a family now.

MG: What can you tell us about your role as Andrew on the show?
IG: Andrew Martin is a British guy who has done incredibly well at managing other people’s money. I don’t think he is the biggest player in town but he is certainly up there and lives quite comfortably. As far as his background goes other than what I have created I don’t really know anything concrete about him. There will be a lot of flashback throughout the show to explain the events prior to us meeting the characters in the park at the beginning of the pilot. I think we will learn more about the character relationships as the series progresses.

MG: How much time are you given to read over the scripts prior to shooting?
IG: Well for example the script we are preparing to shoot today I received it yesterday. It can be a very quick turnaround. I think the department heads usually are preparing a week prior to shooting so that set and things can be set up and the generally idea of each scene can be mapped out. I don’t mind getting the script that close to shooting as it keeps things exciting and fresh which is what we are trying to do with the series. Each week there will be a cliffhanger that keeps you coming back.

MG: What has it been like working with Sarah Michelle Gellar?
IG: It’s an absolute pleasure. I think she is the biggest star in that sense that I have ever worked with. She is a global superstar from her success with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the other films she has made. At the beginning I was a bit of a nerd and excited about the whole thing. I was able to get over that though fairly quick and what I love about her is that she is so tenacious and on top of everything. Besides being a brilliant actress Sarah is a brilliant producer as well. She is really involved in the day to day creative workings of the show. Sarah has a much wiser head on her shoulders than I.

MG: What genre do you feel the show best fits in to?
IG: The CW shows are pretty glamorous and serialized deliberately. The way I have tried to picture it in the past is it’s your favorite afternoon telenovela coupled with “Damages”, when it is at its best. It has a lot of twists and turns throughout the episodes.

MG: How do you feel about switching gears from big scale films to television?
IG: I love being a nomadic actor and traveling to different locations to shoot films. There is something very appealing about that nomadic kind of life style. However I have a daughter now and this series shoots in Los Angeles, where we live, so it would be lovely to get picked up for a whole season which would allow me to be home more. I have always approached things from the basis of the script. This was an opportunity for me to play a real adult part. This character is very ambiguous and we don’t know where his allegiances lay, so it will be fun to see how to unravels.

MG: What do you look for most in a character when you approach a project?
IG: As I evolve and grow older I see things differently and new things present themselves. The lead characters I have played in the past have been very heroic. I have always played the central figure. In this series Sarah Michelle is the central figure, so there are two of us which is a different dynamic and I am enjoying that. I am able to share the weight with someone else. I am just enjoying the evolution and getting to play a very manly character, so to speak.