Ringer Q&A: Ioan Gruffudd on Cliffhangers, Working with SMG, and the Chances of a Second Season

On Ringer, Sarah Michelle Gellar does double work as twin sisters Siobhan and Bridget, but she’s not the only duplicitous character. Ioan Gruffudd plays Andrew Martin, a loving husband who might be harboring some dark secrets of his own. I spoke to Gruffudd about Ringer’s twists, Andrew’s motivation, and the show’s chances for a second season.

You must get this all the time, but how much do you know about what’s happening next on the show?

Well, I know everything, because I’ve already shot it, obviously. [laughs] But I fear if I would start to go down that road, I would sort of blow it for you. I would give you so many spoilers that I fear it would spoil the enjoyment for everybody. It’s the most infuriating position to be in as an actor, because you want to share everything, and the whole purpose of talking to one another is to get the awareness out there. But we sort of live and die by these cliffhangers and what’s happening next. It’s impossible to even resolve any of those questions, even from the last episode.

How do you keep from spilling anything when it comes to dealing with very persistent reporters?

[laughs] You know, it’s a real testament I think to the success of the show and the enjoyment people are getting from the show, that people want to know. And I think that’s the thrill of it. That’s why we tune in to serialized dramas week in, week out, because we’re desperate to find out. It’s very exciting for us. So whenever journalists become suspicious, or your family for that matter, I always take it as a positive. Although you’re sort of setting yourself up for lots of disappointment, because we’ve built it up so much, people are sometimes frenzied from week to week.

At some point, I imagine, Andrew is going to find out that Bridget has been lying about her true identity this whole time. Do you think he’ll be able to forgive her when that happens?

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the finale, because I’ve only just been handed it this morning. I haven’t read it yet. But if that were to happen, and we did go again next year, which we’re all crossing our fingers that we do, I think it would be a very interesting story to have someone to have legitimately fallen in love with somebody all over again—or so he thinks. He has obviously just fallen in love with somebody for the first time. Whether he can forgive that and understand that, and how do we build that up again, I don’t know. Would we have some distance apart? Would he have moved out? Would he have asked her to leave? There’s so much scope for the next season. It is rather exciting.

I was slightly terrified—there’s a big secret that we set up. How do we stretch this out for a long life, we hope, of a series? Because the audience is not going to let us withhold that secret from Andrew for too much longer. Otherwise, they’ll feel shortchanged. So if it doesn’t happen in the finale, I’m sure it will set up nicely for the big reveal, maybe in the first episode of the next season. But I think that would be fantastic, if they would have to re-fall in love all over again, and start from scratch.

You and Sarah Michelle Gellar have found a natural chemistry, and it’s been great seeing Andrew and Bridget fall in love with each other. How did your relationship with Sarah develop over the course of the season?

I was just on set just now with her, and we’ve had intimate scenes and what have you—but every scene is sort of intimate between us, because we’re playing husband and wife. And I just had a real pang of—I just felt a little upset because I realized this is all coming to an end ... when we finish shooting the season finale. I would dearly love to come back, because it’s so rare, really, to have this opportunity other than in the theater to be around somebody and get to know somebody really well, and to have so much fun with them. I haven’t done any theater. The longest thing I ever did was Fantastic Four, which was a five-month, six-month shoot. But you don’t often get this opportunity, and we’ve been together for nine months.

I love her. She’s fantastic. We have so many things in common. We both have daughters who are exactly the same age—they’re nine days apart. We’ve both had varied careers up to this point. She’s fairly younger than I am, but I think we’ve got so much experience behind us that we really appreciate and value what we have, which is a fantastic job, a great acting opportunity, and on a practical sense, a job that shoots in LA and keeps us with our families. So we’re both desperate to keep this thing ongoing, for sure.

Obviously fans of the show don’t have much say in whether Ringer gets a second season, but what would you say to those who have been with it since the beginning?

You know, we’ve been so blessed, really. The support—especially online, in the forums, and people who tweet about the show. It’s just been extraordinary. We’re kind of overwhelmed with it. We just want to thank them, really, for being patient. It was a bit disconcerting to be off the air for so long over the hiatus. I know a lot of fans have been upset about that, as have we. I guess that’s the way things work in network television. There’s a great big hiatus over Christmas. Unfortunately, I think our show suffered because we live and die by those cliffhangers from week to week. It’s not a standalone episode that you’re watching. So we just want to say thank you to the fans, the dedicated fans, who did come back and support the show. As we all know, it’s numbers and viewing figures that allow networks to pull the trigger for another season.

Going back to the plot, I asked if you thought Andrew could forgive Bridget. What about Juliet? Can he forgive his daughter for this awful plot she’s been a part of?

I think it might be slightly different in her scenario, because she is my daughter, and as we know, Catherine is such a manipulative sort of evildoer. You’d have to be a very strong person to not get sucked in. I mean, Andrew got sucked in in the first place when he married her, only to be disappointed. So I think Andrew would be incredibly hurt and disappointed, but I think he would eventually have to forgive Juliet for what she did.

For a while, everyone around Andrew was doing bad things, and he seemed fairly innocent. We’re just now getting a sense that he’s maybe not so perfect.

Yeah, what’s great about our show is once we sort of resolve or answer a question that we’ve posed, something else is thrown up. The moment where you’re feeling most comfortable and relaxed with a particular storyline, something will change in that storyline. So I think for Andrew fans, the next two or three episodes are going to be very interesting.

As an actor, how do you find sympathy for a character doing these not-so-great things?

It’s interesting, that idea, because you have to love all your characters that you play. Otherwise you can’t represent them fully. So you have to find a way of justifying their actions. You have to find a way to understand why they acted in a certain way—they acted out of fear, or love, or out of heightened emotion. They’re not necessarily inherently evil. And I think, in Andrew’s case, we’re gonna touch upon things that on the surface seem quite sinister, but I’m sure there are real motivations behind his actions.

Ringer airs Tuesday nights at 9pm on The CW.

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