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Steffan Rhodri

12th February 2024

Interview & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent

Starring in the heartfelt show, Gavin and Stacey and being in one of the biggest franchises of all time. Steffan Rhodri is here to talk to us about his next big project The Way  which is premiering on BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this week.

Hi Steffan! Thank you for talking to us today. How has the start of 2024 been for you?

It's been very quick and I can't believe January's over already. I've been in Edinburgh with the latest leg of Macbeth on tour. It went down incredibly well with the audiences and this was the longest I've ever spent in Edinburgh so it was a great opportunity to get to know better this fantastic city!

You’re starring in the new BBC drama, The Way. What made you want to star in this show?

I've known Michael Sheen since we both joined West Glamorgan Youth Theatre at the same time in about 1983, but I've never worked with him professionally so it was a great thrill to be asked to do this with him on his directorial debut. The story itself was appealing because it focusses on a family at a moment of extreme crisis and that's always fascinating; but we also get to see the domestic crisis played out against an epic backdrop. The threat to the steelworks obviously felt like an important story I wanted to be a part of telling, though none of us knew quite how prophetic that would be as events unfold now amidst an existential crisis to the Works and the town of Port Talbot. But equally important to me was the telling of the story of an ordinary family forced by circumstances to flee and to see their journey as refugees. It always feels so easy to 'other' people fleeing their homes to a safer world but here was an opportunity to follow the fortunes of a family almost impossible for us in Wales and the UK as a whole not to identify with. It felt like a clever device used to tell an important story.

How would you say this is different from the other roles you’ve played?

It's similar to some and very different from others. I seem to be getting roles more often of a man trying against the odds to make the right moral choices. I don't know why that is but I'll take it for now!

The show touches on a sensitive story where the family you’re in has to leave the country and have to face impossible choices. What was it like shedding the light on those subjects?

Wonderfully challenging. My partner, Talya Tibbon, made a brilliant documentary feature film a few years ago called Sky and Ground which follows the journey of a Syrian family fleeing the war there and from a refugee camp in Greece through their perilous journey to a new life in Berlin. I'd seen the film many times of course and when I first read James Graham's scripts for The Way I was struck by the very real similarities in how the stories unfold: the impossible dilemmas of onward travel, the family squabbling and old agendas playing out, the hope and despair, the renewed bonds through adversity. I was very excited to be a part of creating a drama that illustrated these truths.

You also starred in the BBC drama, MEN UP with familiar names such as Iwan Rheon, Joanna Page, Paul Rhys, and Phaldut Sharma. How was it to film and for people who haven't seen the show can you explain it to us?

MEN UP was a TV film drama based on the true story of the first ever clinical trial for Viagra in the 90s. It actually happened at the hospital in Morriston, Swansea where I was born! It was a heartwarming drama not only telling a very important story about something which made such a positive impact on a lot of lives, but also managed to look at male mental health issues, intimacy and friendship, suicide and depression, homophobia, communication, and intimacy in marriages... all in a heartfelt, often funny, very touching film. My character, Colin, was a successful triallist and managed to develop his previous 'phone only' dating relationship to full intimacy. The cast was full of old friends which made filming it all the more special and fun.

Lastly, you’re known to be in big TV shows and films such as Gavin & Stacey, The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Will Die, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. What other dream roles would you like to grab your hands on?

I love being able to spread my work across all genres and media. If I could order it up I'd like a gritty, complex film role with a creative and inspiring director, a meaty Shakespeare or Pinter role that flexes the extremes of the theatre muscles, and a series regular in the next blockbusting TV ensemble drama that everyone's talking about!

THE WAY premieres on the 19th February 2024 on BBC One and iPlayer.

Check out the trailer to 'The Way'.

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