Then, although they got the shape of it right, the colour was wrong - almost completely white.They took me in to see Oliver Stone and he just said: 'For God's sake: he looks ridiculous.'"Finally, after administering prosthetic likenesses of the former PM's elfin ears, a single darkened tooth in the middle of his lower set and blue contact lenses "because he's got those beautiful, piercing blue eyes," producers managed to achieve a certain likeness."As the part is a small one, it was important that I should be instantly, physically recogniseable as Blair.So I gave him a Blair-style answer, very neutral, very diplomatic, and that was half the test.Physically, of course, I was thinking 'this could be a bit of a stretch.'" Gruffudd is not being immodest - his physique does that for him - but this last remark is a laughable understatement.A year later, remembering the actor's impact in the nautical ITV series, Hornblower, Gruffudd was cast in his most impressive role to date, as William Wilberforce in Amazing Grace.When fame did eventually lay a more rigid claim on him, however, it was a disappointment. I had just started being invited to those," he laughs. Being famous, I realised with a bit of a shock, wouldn't give me anything more than I have." Around that time, while dating Nicole Appleton from girl band All Saints ("until I was unceremoniously turfed out for the next guy"), he met Evans.
"I'd assumed it would be a bit of a cattle call of all the British actors," the 34-year-old Welsh actor goes on in his unreconstructed Welsh lilt, "and I was nervous because Oliver Stone is a brilliant man but there seemed to be one main thing he wanted to know: how I would handle the media scrutiny of playing the former Prime Minister.
"Oliver really thought that Blair had no choice but to go to war.
Had he not agreed to it, he felt that his relationship with the US would have soured so much that his hands were tied."On being given the part, Gruffudd's first port of call was to sit down with Michael Sheen (who played the former PM in Stephen Frears' film The Queen).
"'I loved you in that movie where you played the agent,' Stone said to me, and Josh and I looked at each other, because I've never played an agent.
Then," Ioan Gruffudd flinches with embarrassment, "I actually went through my whole CV, asking 'was it this film?