58th Monte-Carlo Television Festival: Ioan Gruffudd about Liar, Harrow and Soccer Aid

We saw him last year on ITV as the lead actor of Liar, a limited series about Laura Nielson, a smart and capable teacher in the middle of a breakup, who is set up on a date with recently widowed surgeon Andrew Earlham. However, the day after it is apparent that something has gone wrong, and the subsequent fallout rapidly spirals out of control, exposing the power of truth, deception, and trust.
He was supposed to play last week in the Soccer Aid Football game at the Old Trafford in Manchester alongside with international stars like Usain Bolt, Olly Mars, Damian Lewis, Jack O’Connell, Michael Owen, Hayden Christensen,…but an injury during training sections put him on the bench.
We’ll see him this year in Harrow season two. Harrow tells the story of Dr. Daniel Harrow, a forensic pathologist with a total disregard for authority. He has an unfailing empathy for the dead which helps him solve even the most bizarre of cases. Willing to bend every rule, he is determined to give victims a voice and reveal the truth behind what happened to them. Meanwhile, a terrible secret from his past threatens him, his family, and his career.

C: Can you tell me about your first impression when you read the script of Liar for the first time?

I: Wow, Liar. This is what happened. They sent me the script on a Thursday, in an email at 8/8.30 in the evening. I was putting my girls to bed, they wouldn’t sleep so I told them: look, I’m gonna sit here with you guys leaving the light on and I started to read the script; and I was awake at 1 o’clock in the morning because I read all three and I said: I have to do this. So I called immediately my agent asking: how do I get this job? And at the end of the following week, the job was mine. Whose just one those gifts that fell into my lap.

C: How did you prepare for the role of Andrew?

I: It’s strange because it is such a difficult role. A difficult subject matter. Interesting because when you look at the show I don’t really act evil or mean or horrible…I just act myself…I’m charming, in every situation. But we know, in order of what we see what I’m up to. So I have to remind myself every time not to act as a bad guy but to be charming so people can feel sick watching it.

C: Liar told us that Andrew was guilty without any doubts right from the beginning…but the audience kept following the series that was a huge success. Why do you think this happened? Which do you think is the streight of Liar as clearly mistery is not?

I: Look, I don’t wish to be the writers because they have an enormous task because of the success of the first season. I think they wanted to be honest. That was the story. It’s impossible in season two to do the same thing again. It would be easier, for example, if Andrew goes ah, I’m not dead, I just faked it but I think we have to be honest like we were in season one and try to figure out who killed him, why, etc…and see more of what happened before that in season one we didn’t see. And maybe some flashbacks on why and how I became this person or when I started to do this. So it won’t be the same show, it won’t be the same drama but I think it will be equally interesting.

C: And about Harrow, you started to shoot the second season in September, you are a doctor again, what are your expectations for the new season?

I: Well, I’m excited for everybody to see it. I love playing him, I love that he is a very difficult character; he can be miserable, he can be grumpy, he can be hard to work with but also brilliant, funny, charming,… so all these elements, I’m excited to see what the writers are going to create for the new season, which is the big story.

C: Your last time on stage was in 2011. Are you thinking about coming back soon and how important is for you to work on stage?

I: You know what is interesting? I’m getting a lot of opportunities to do theater now. But it’s thought to fit it in in your schedule sometimes. When you sign to do a show like Harrow there is a commitment; plus I live in Los Angeles so the theatre is in New York or London and is a long way to go; be away from the family, you know, so it’s hard. I love to do it of course but it would be a hard commitment especially from my family perspective.

C: Let’s talk about football…

I: Oh, Soccer Aid, I was so excited. I had the best week of my life in that sense, but I got injured, that’s why I’m robbing my leg. I didn’t play in the game, I was so sad. I went all the way to Manchester and I didn’t get to play. Hopefully, I’ll be back next year when I’m healed. It was such an amazing game. England played really really well. It was a great night even from the bench even if I was very sad.

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