I’ve kept a half-eye on Ioan Gruffudd for years. I first noticed him in King Arthur. He was perhaps the best thing in the entire dismal movie, which is close to my least favourite rendition of the Arthurian legends.
I lost track of him after that. Because the movie wasn’t a repeat for me, he slipped off my radar.
Then, quite a few years later I got to see the original Fantastic Four movie. It took me a while to connect up the actor playing Reed Richards with the glowering and moody Lancelot in King Arthur, but it was his real name that did it. Ioan Gruffudd is unusual enough to flag itself. It’s Welsh, as Gruffudd himself is, and is pronounced “Yo-wahn Griffith”.
Fantastic Four and King Arthur were only a year apart in release dates, but many years apart for me. Unfortunately, Fantastic Four was as disappointing as King Arthur, and I focused on other things for quite a while.
We started watching the TV series Forever right when it aired, which is very unusual for us. Also unusual: (1) We were hooked by the first episode, (2) I recognized Gruffudd only by his name (again), (3) there is absolutely no romance in this show (yet).
But Gruffudd is finally playing an interesting character with lots of depth. The fact that he’s been around for 200 years means he has plenty of insight and opinions about the human condition. But even that wouldn’t have been enough for me, except for one scene: He kissed the top of his son’s head, just like fathers around the world have done time out of mind. Except his son is in his mid-sixties (played by Judd Hirsch), and Henry Morgan, the character he plays, looks like he’s in his mid-thirties.
So despite the show still being in the murder-of-the-week phase, I’m enjoying it so far, and waiting to see if it will morph into a high-stakes, high-emotion storyline, as all the better dramas eventually do.
I think Gruffudd has finally found a role that will give him a chance to show his chops as an actor.