TV Quickfire: Ioan Gruffudd on new ITVX show The Reunion
With school reunion themed drama The Reunion premiering on ITVX this week, Welsh star Ioan Gruffudd talks about filming in France and his mysterious, complex character...
WHAT MOTIVATES YOUR CHARACTER TO RETURN TO FRANCE?
The reason Thomas did come back, against his better judgment, is because he's obsessed with the girl he was in love with back in the early 90s at the International School – namely Vinca Rockwell.
She disappeared mysteriously one night and he's coming back to try to piece together that mystery but his other past has caught up with him at the same time. You've got these two narratives colliding.
WHAT MADE THOMAS A MUST-PLAY CHARACTER?
He's somebody who is running away from his past. He's an obsessive character and he's especially obsessed with Vinca. I think she lives on in all of the novels he's subsequently written and he can't shake her. He can't let her go.
I also think his upbringing was probably a little bit cold and distant. His parents were teachers at the school he attended and it is revealed across the six episodes that they aren't all that they seem either.
Thomas feels a bit empty inside and he's searching for some closure. He's a restless character. He's trying to escape his past and I think this is the only way he can perhaps get some finality, by going back.
He arrives on the back of a book launch. He gets this invitation and he can't help himself.
HOW DOES THE REUNION DIFFER FROM OTHER THRILLERS?
We see the characters in the past. We see them as 18-year-olds in their last years at school, and the younger actors are brilliantly cast.
They're terrific, such wonderful actors, and they help the audience understand these characters as older people and the evolution they must have gone through.
You can see the pain Thomas is in and the struggles the other characters have had trying to escape what they did back then, to better themselves and to do something good for the community.
I think they're largely successful but then Thomas comes back and reminds them of the past. His presence sets off all this intrigue and everyone's lives unravel. He has a domino effect on these people.
HOW WAS FILMING IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE?
It's just as you'd imagine. The climate is wonderful, the infrastructure is terrific, you've got talent from all over France and Italy who came to either act or work on the show, and there's such a reverence towards filmmaking in France. It feels like being part of a very rich culture.
The French working day is very precise and specific. It's different to the American version, where you sort of work until you've finished the day and it doesn't matter if you do X amount of overtime.
In France you finish when you're supposed to finish so you have your evening and your dinner. It's very civilised. There's such a reverence towards the craft of making film and television, and it's great to be a part of that.
WAS THE NOVEL BY GUILLAUME MUSSO NEW TO YOU?
The novel was completely new to me, although I know he's a prolific and highly successful writer.
The book was very popular in France and it resonates internationally, especially for people of my age because it's partly about being young in the early 90s as well as being the age we are now.
And the themes and the story work in any language. It's deliberately set in an international school that we all can imagine attending.
:: The Reunion will premiere on ITVX on January 12.