CBM INTERVIEW: Mr. Fantastic - Ioan Gruffudd

Ioan Gruffudd may be best known as Horatio Hornblower, but he now Captains the Fantastic Four as the group's elastic leader. We got to question Mr. Gruffudd about his role in the new comic book movie, Horatio, and life in LA...
ComicBookMovie: Thanks for agreeing to interview with us. I'm sure you've met a few hardcore comic book movie fans already?

Ioan Gruffudd: Yes, we have. Yesterday we were at a comic book store on 34th Street, and we closed it down with all of them that had come to see us.

ComicBookMovie.com: Did you have any idea what you were getting into by accepting the role of Mr. Fantastic?

Ioan Gruffudd: Not until I met the avid fans down at ComicCon. That's when I realized, WOW, this is a whole new world that I'm getting into here. A world of very passionate and loving fans of the comic books.

ComicBookMovie.com: And you went to E3 as well? It looks like a pretty good video game.

Ioan Gruffudd: Yes I did. The game looks like a lot of fun.

ComicBookMovie.com: Did you voice the Fantastic Four video game?

Ioan Gruffudd: Yes, we did actually. All of us voiced our characters, and I think that it's great to have the continuity between the movie and the game.

ComicBookMovie.com: I know the fans do appreciate the care--you making the rounds at the conventions, going to comic book stores, voicing the game and such.

Ioan Gruffudd: Absolutely. And to be fair, the fans make these movies successes. So, it's the least we could do really.

ComicBookMovie.com: Why do you think that movies adapted from comic books are enjoying such popularity right now?

Ioan Gruffudd: I think they are enjoying popularity simply because we're able to make them correctly now, with interesting visual effects that are of a good quality these days. Especially with the Fantastic Four--using their powers concurrently. On the appeal of them, it's the same as the comics themselves--the fact that you can escape into this world and imagine yourself as these characters. We all like to dream, we all like to fantasize, and this gives us a chance to escape.

ComicBookMovie.com: Have you ever met Christian Bale--the new Batman?

Ioan Gruffudd: You know what? I've only met him once, briefly at at an audition. I doubt that he'd remember me, but I know he's a fellow Welshman.

ComicBookMovie.com: That's right. You guys are taking over.

Ioan Gruffudd: (Laughing) Yes, yes, the second Welsh super hero! That's great!

ComicBookMovie.com: You met with FF creator Stan Lee. Did he give you any advice on your character?

Ioan Gruffudd: Well, I met Stan actually in the middle of filming, so it was a bit late then. But he was just great. Very welcoming, and just let us run with it with no comment at all. And he also played a cameo in the movie, so it was just great to meet the legend that is Stan Lee.

ComicBookMovie.com: Since you hadn't read the comics before the film, how then did you prepare for the role? Did you bone up on the comics? You know, Reed Richards looks like he's in his late 40's in the comics.

Ioan Gruffudd: Yes, well they decided to make all the characters slightly younger for the possibility of making a franchise out of this movie. So we could grow and evolve over a period of possibly 6-10 years. So yes, I appreciate that he was older in the comics, but I think I still display the attributes he has. He's a scientist, but also a bit of a dork or geek. He's completely blind to the fact that Sue Storm is in love with him. And he certainly becomes their leader towards the end, and I hope I represent that well.

ComicBookMovie.com: Speaking of sequels, you know Spider-Man is supposedly doing a total of 6 movies. Have they put a number on the Fantastic Four movies yet--assuming they are popular?

Ioan Gruffudd: As far as what we've signed up for, we've signed up to do 2 and 3. So, we're obliged to do 2 more, and we'd love to do more.

ComicBookMovie.com: Well, I certainly hope this is going to be huge. I think all of the comic book movies that have been coming out recently have been superb. And, Fantastic Four has been getting some great exposure in the marketing department.

Ioan Gruffudd: Certainly, the commercial aspect of it is enormous! I can't quite get over it myself. Everywhere I turn there's a billboard or a poster--even on my phone bill!

ComicBookMovie.com: Have you seen all your toys?

Ioan Gruffudd: Yeah! (Laughs) They're superb! It's so exciting to see yourself as a figure! That is a childhood dream come true. It's amazing.

ComicBookMovie.com: What was your relationship like with the rest of the cast? Did any of you become instant mates?

Ioan Gruffudd: Oh I think all of us have actually, and I think that comes across in the movie itself. If we weren't sort of friends or if we didn't get along, I think that would've translated to the relationships onscreen. And we certainly have that sort of "family feel" to us all. Which is what the comic's are about.

ComicBookMovie.com: An off topic question that I have to ask for the Horatio Hornblower fans... When is the next installment? You left the last one kind of hanging, with your new wife and all.

Ioan Gruffudd: Yes, I know, I know, we left it hanging. To be honest with you, you'll have to ask the people over there at A&E because they are the decision makers when it comes to Hornblower, but the latest I heard they were still writing and developing scripts for another couple of episodes. So, I dunno. I'd love to play that part throughout every stage of his career. It's so unique.

ComicBookMovie.com: Oh yeah, I hope that happens. It's such a great series.

Ioan Gruffudd: Aw, thank you very much.

ComicBookMovie.com: You know, your shipmate Jamie Bamber is also involved with some SciFi (Jamie Bamber played Archie Kennedy in Horiatio Hornblower and is now the new Apollo on SCIFI's Battlestar Galactica).

Ioan Gruffudd: Yes! (Laughs)

ComicBookMovie.com: Have you spoken with him recently?

Ioan Gruffudd: You know what?!! Jamie was shooting the series in Vancouver the same time we were making the movie. So, we got to hook up many a night. It was great. I even saw him again recently because we went up to do reshoots and he was there shooting the second series. He's got all his family there, and he's going great guns. I'm delighted for him.

ComicBookMovie.com: When was it that you moved to LA?

Ioan Gruffudd: I've been in Los Angeles about 2 years now and I'm loving it. Absolutely loving it.

ComicBookMovie.com: Has it been working out like you expected--with your career and all?

Ioan Gruffudd: I couldn't have asked for a better change really, or a better start to the change--with King Arthur last year, now Fantastic Four this year. Long may it continue.

ComicBookMovie.com: Is the Fantastic Four movie the biggest budget that you've been involved with so far?

Ioan Gruffudd: Um, Ah. (Thinking) I do believe that nothing will ever come close to Titanic. I was involved in Titanic very briefly. I can't imagine anything going to the extremes of budget as that did.

ComicBookMovie.com: That's right! I forgot you were in that. Well, I'm sure the special effects of Fantastic Four will be somewhat comparable, right?

Ioan Gruffudd: Certainly, certainly, yes. They are. I've seen the completed movie a couple of times now and the audience that came to see the special effects won't be disappointed.

Stay Tuned for more Fantastic Interviews with Michael Chiklis a.k.a. The Thing, and Chris Evans a.k.a. The Human Torch!

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