6 Questions with Liar Star Ioan Gruffudd (Andrew)
Liar star Ioan Gruffudd discusses why the series led him back to the UK, his favorite scenes with Joanne Froggatt (Laura Nielson) and his character Andrew Earlham’s state of mind after Laura accuses him of lying.
Q: What drives your character Andrew?
A: I think Andrew is a very driven personality. What he wants, he gets, and he uses his charm and his intelligence and his personality to achieve that. He’s very dedicated to his work. We discover in the piece that he’s, in fact, a widower. He lost his wife, probably about 10 years ago. So, he’s had to raise his son on his own. And it seems at the beginning of the show that they have a fantastic relationship. He’s done a good job of raising his son and being motivated by his career. He’s now a consultant. So, he’s quite a young consultant in that sense. He’s in his early forties. So, he’s dedicated a lot of his life to his work, and we see that. We present that in our piece. He’s driven. He’s dogged. He’s determined. But also a fantastically charming, brilliant guy to be around.
Q: What would you say the key themes are in Liar?
A: To each action, there is a reaction and there are consequences to one’s actions, be they physical actions or verbal actions. Andrew’s character, in particular, I think has been unfairly treated in his mind because of hearsay. He’s been judged by hearsay online—almost a trial by social media, which to him is a devastating blow because he’s such a proud person. He’s such a character that lives and dies by this fantastic perception of himself that he has, which is a genuine perception. So, he’s crushed by that. So, I think another theme is that we all have secrets, and every character in the show has a secret that will be revealed at some point or another. That we all hide things from one another, that we all tell white lies, innocent lies, and sometimes those lies can be exaggerated and can have some real consequences.
Q: How do you think Andrew feels when Laura accuses him of lying?
A: It offends him greatly. I think his status in the community is very important to him. And the idea and the notion that he’s been called out for something that he’s denying completely is just the worst thing that could possibly happen to him. I think he’s very proud of what he’s achieved. He’s very proud of his status in the community. And I think it’s shaken him to his core. He’s angry. He’s shocked. He’s emotionally upset about it. I think one of the driving forces of his anger is the fact that how he’s perceived in the world has now been changed.
Q: What challenges did you face playing the role of Andrew?
A: Some of the most challenging scenes have been my favorite scenes. I mean, the writing is so tremendous. Jack and Harry are just incredible writers, but my favorite scenes I think have been the scenes that I’ve [gotten] to share with Joanne Froggatt. I think we bounce off each other tremendously well. We’ve hit if off immediately. We have very challenging scenes, and there’s a lot of conflict in them, and a lot of dancing around each other—of both characters coming from different places. So, I think all the scenes I had with her are very delicate scenes because we are both convinced of our truth, of our reality. So, I think those scenes have been deliciously challenging, and ultimately very satisfying.
Q: You talked a bit earlier about Harry and Jack Williams — what did you like about the scripts, and what did you like about working with them?
A: I’ve got to say, the reason I am here back home in the UK and on British television for the first time in over a decade… is Harry and Jack’s script. Their work, their writing. I received the scripts in L.A. — the first three episodes — and sat down to read the first one, and proceeded to read three in a row and just could not put them down. I think what they’re brilliant at, the construct of scenes as individual scenes are beautiful. The lines aren’t necessarily how one would speak in everyday life, but if you learn them correctly and deliver them correctly they sound fantastic, and every scene has a beginning, a middle and end, and has a little button at the end of every scene. And, of course, their construct of an arc of a series is second to none, as we’ve seen with all the other examples of their work.
And at the end of the day, as producers of the show and the creators of the show, they’re just great fun to have around as well. If you were to meet Jack and Harry you would never quite believe that they are brothers, and that they can be that close to one another, and that they [Laughs] have the capacity to write something like this — because they are so funny and and so sort of self-deprecating. They’re the opposite, the antithesis almost, of what you see on the page.
Q: How do you think viewers will feel while watching the series?
A: My hope and desire is that people will be debating who’s telling the truth for the first half of our series, certainly. And if we’ve achieved an argument on the couch between a couple watching our series about who believes is telling the truth at any given time, I think we will have succeeded.
Liar airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on SundanceTV.