One of Wales' most exciting young actors, Ioan Gruffudd has starred as fifth officer Lowe in the multiple Oscar-winning epic, Titanic and as John Gray in the acclaimed biopic, Wilde. His television credits include the lead role of Horatio Hornblower in the Hornblower series for Carlton Television and Pip in Tony Marchant's adaptation of Great Expectations for the BBC. Other television credits for the RADA trained actor include Poldark, Double Exposure, A Relative Stranger, William Jones, and Pobol Y Cwn.
'As soon as I saw the script for Solomon and Gaenor,' explains Ioan, 'I fell in love with it. It's a lovely story and the theme of cultural identity is something as a Welshman I feel very strongly about. I thought it was a great opportunity to play a romantic lead and that it would be a challenge to play a Jewish character.'
'My character, Solomon is in his 20's. He's the eldest son of a devout Jewish family. When we first meet him in the film he's fighting with his Jewishness and rebelling against it. But his father is so strong he can't rebel completely otherwise he'd be thrown out of his family. Then he meets Gaenor, a young Welsh chapel girl and love takes over. He doesn't tell her that he's Jewish because he's ashamed and he doesn't want his family to know. Eventually it comes out and although he can resolve it with Gaenor, he can't resolve it with his family, who when they find out, send him to Cardiff.'
'It was the hardest role I've played so far,' reckons Ioan, 'because I had to immerse myself in a totally different time period and in a different religion, and I had to learn Yiddish, which was a completely new language to me.'