Ioan Gruffudd: A Knight's Tale

Welsh actor Ioan Gruffud's already conquered Britain -- now the star of King Arthur has his sights set on Hollywood.

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MELISSA QUINLAN: When I sat down to watch the Hornblower movies, I didn't expect to enjoy them as much as I did.

IOAN GRUFFUDD: Absolutely. Neither would I, to be honest [laughs]. I wouldn't want to sit down to watch that sort of period costume thing. I'm glad you thought that. A lot of people have said that.

Q: Hornblower just pulled me in--he's such an endearing character. I really found myself rooting for him.

A: I think that's the attraction of that period. These were boys, you know, turning into men while living in these terrible conditions on these ships and fighting wars. He's incredibly bright and he understands how to encourage people to do things against their will without being an imposing captain. He's the opposite of Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander.

Q: Were you approached about starring in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World?

A: I remember when the auditions came 'round to play the part that Paul Bettany eventually played, but I wasn't available because I think I was shooting Hornblower. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm curious. Just looking at the trailers themselves I was going, "Ah, damn! I wish we had that sort of budget to make ours look as good!"

Q: Waiting for the opening of a big film like King Arthur must be a different experience for you.

A: Yes, I'm just delighted that this movie is coming out [after] all the work through the years trying to manage and build up to a career. To be the third lead after Clive [Owen] and Keira [Knightley], this is by far the most exciting step in my career.

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