Can you tell us about your role in the Mabinogi?
I'm playing the role of King Bendigeidfran in the story but he's only involved in the animated side of the film. Bendigeidfran is a legendary giant of a man and in the story we see how he uses that power to help himself and his brothers go to Ireland to revenge Matholwch who has banished his sister to become a maid.
Can you précis the story about relationships and family?
We in Wales are very familiar with this story but I think the story will travel all over the world because it's about feuding between two families and extended families and the protectiveness of families of each other and that feeling of wanting to revenge each other which we can all associate with as human beings in any part of the world.
It must be nice to be playing the role of Bendigeidfran?
Yes, I remember studying the original text in the original Welsh for my 'A' Levels in school so I'm very familiar with Bendigeidfran as being this mythical giant, it was quite a pleasure to try and bring that character to life - even though I'm quite a slight person, to be able to use the voice to try and create this presence was a lot of fun.
When did you become involved in the project?
I became involved in the project back in 1998. I originally played the part of Bendigeidfran using a script without any images or animation and the animators went on then to create it over the last four years. Seeing it again four years later is a bit odd because my voice has changed subtly and also the accent is much stronger I think, the Welsh accent, because I recorded it in Wales and I'm re-recording it in London. It's very interesting to hear how Welsh my voice is and was back then and how it's changed a little bit having been up here.
What sort of challenge does it pose to an actor to work in such a technically exacting way?
It's an unique process really. You're familiar as an actor of using your whole body and your face and seeing yourself, and now you're representing a character that has already been created and giving that character life through the voice, and you find yourself in the booth - a very confined space - using your whole body and imagining yourself as the character and you're almost trying to mimic the character with his movements but it's only the voice that is recorded ... so it's a very strange experience!
And of course, it's more than just dialogue
Yes, so what's captured is only the voice and the voice could be a sigh or it could be a grunt or the effort a character makes ... for example with Bendigeidfran I have to create this moment when he turns into a giant so I'm sort of imagining him growing and his limbs breaking and his skin stretching so it's all sorts of subtle sounds as well as just dialogue that you have to record in order to create a reality of the animation.
When did you first see the animation and what's your reaction to seeing it now?
I hadn't seen any of the animation when I recorded it, I recorded the character as I saw it on the page. Now seeing it again after they've created it I was completely blown away and very chuffed to be this very handsome, big, strong giant so that was quite flattering really, and knowing that it's my voice pretending to be that character, but it looks absolutely extraordinary and I'm very excited to see it.