Can you tell us about the character you're playing?
The part I play in the film is of Lleu, a young, troubled warrior who overcomes three curses that were put upon him by his mother, and what we follow in the film is his journey of overcoming these curses.
Tell us briefly what happens to the character during the narrative of the story
Lleu himself is born out of magic - which is something which went hand-in-hand with everyday life in those days - and the three curses that are put upon him by his mother are (i) that only mothers can name their sons, (ii) only mothers could arm their sons and (iii) that he would not be able to marry a mortal woman.
What is central to the story from Lleu's perspective?
What's most important in Lleu's life is that he's presented with love given of choice not from any duty. He's brought up by his uncle Gwydion who offers him unconditional love and I think part of Lleu's hardship in going through life is that he can't recognise this love ... he always goes back to his mother and is always wanting his mother's love when really the love staring him in the face is from his uncle Gwydion. So in that respect, from what I saw, when Lleu goes full circle in his journey it's realising that the love he has from his uncle is what is most important in life and not the maternal love he so desperately seeks.
There's also a female character who gets involved, can you tell us more about that?
One of the three curses put upon him by his mother is the fact that he cannot marry a mortal woman. Therefore his uncle Gwydion creates this perfect woman for him from flowers called Blodeuwedd. Going back to talking about choices in Lleu's life, the love he wants is a love he cannot achieve but the love he's given (Blodeuewedd) is this unconditional love ... I think Lleu wanted the choice of being able to choose his own wife therefore finds it hard to love the woman that was gifted to him. The fact that she was this perfect woman as well is a difficulty in his life - he's presented with this perfect bride but ultimately it's not the choice he would have made. This probably explains why Blodeuwedd goes off with another man because she's not feeling any love from Lleu.
What kind of challenge is this to an actor who's used to working in the theatre?
I think the challenge comes on many different levels, certainly this is the first project I've ever worked on with live action and animation and with animation of this calibre. The process is fascinating and difficult, I did feel it very difficult at times on many levels because as actors you rely so much on what you can do with your face and your hands and we shot the live action first so I was fairly accustomed to that by then and then all of a sudden you only have your voice to create a character which is difficult. What I instinctively did at the beginning, when going over it on my own, was to put on a voice and to try and 'become' something with my voice and then I rebelled against that slightly and thought that I'll try and make it sound as real as possible rather than presenting this very "voice-led" character.
The stories of the Mabinogi are known to us here in Wales but they should travel far and wide. What are your hopes for the film?
Well obviously we grew up with the Mabinogi as children and we appreciate and realise how important they are to Wales because of how old they are and how many generations have heard them. These stories have been passed down in a very traditional sense in Wales, the oral tradition, so I sincerely hope we can take that to a greater audience and that the world can see what a rich and fantastic collection of stories these are.