“I’ve always been obsessed with other words,” says Morfydd Clark, speaking over Zoom earlier this week. The actress is wearing a black blouse and is set against a shadowy video background — she could be anywhere, but is currently in New York for the city’s premiere of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” Tuesday night’s premiere was the third in the span of a week, but it’s the final leg of promotion ahead of the wide release of the Amazon mega series on Sept. 2.
“I’ve been really happy to hear that people feel that they’re returning to Middle Earth,” says Clark, asked how she’s navigated the fan response leading up to the release.
“The main aim of the whole [project] was to create an experience that felt worthy of Middle Earth. But also it’s been really nice to meet everyone,” she adds. “Tolkien’s whole world view and the books themselves, there’s a lot of kindness and a lot of generosity in them. And that is what I’ve felt from all the fans that I’ve met. It’s a nice group to be part of.”
Clark wore a Vivienne Westwood corseted top to the show’s New York premiere at Lincoln Center; for the Los Angeles world premiere, she wore a Christian Siriano gown followed by a floral Erdem gown to the Mexico City premiere. The actress has been working with stylist Nicky Yates for her press appearances, a new step in her acting career. “I’ve never worked with a stylist before, and that’s been a joy. She’s been amazing and I feel so varied in what I’ve been wearing,” says Clark, adding that she’s still figuring out how to best navigate the back-to-back media appearances. “I’m still quite new to this premiere world, and so at the moment, there is no process. Just trying to kind of stay reasonably calm,” she says.
The 33-year-old Welsh actress garnered buzz for her starring role in 2019 indie horror film “Saint Maud,” which earned her a BAFTA rising star award nomination. Around the time she was doing promo for the film, the actress learned that she had booked the role of Galadriel in “Lord of Rings: The Rings of Power,” the elf portrayed by Cate Blanchett in the film trilogy. It also turned out to be one of the lead roles in the anticipated series.
“The character of Galadriel, she encompasses a lot of things. She’s thousands of years old, she’s older than the moon. She’s a living myth and legend and she’s very powerful,” Clark says. “It was really exciting to play someone with such power.”
Clark donned the tell-tale pointed elven ears for filming, and credits the power of costume for helping her get into character. “The elves in particular are obsessed with beauty. And one of their aims in their existence is to create more beauty. So everything had to be thought through and as beautiful as it could be,” she says. “I was really lucky to work with the most incredible costume team and armory team, with Kate Hawley at the helm,” she adds. “We were wearing pieces of art, and there was one dress in particular I had that was made of found 1920s fabric. The elves are immortal, and so Kate really wanted some of the costumes to be as old as they could be.”
Clark has been cast to play another literary character, Ophelia, in a modern adaptation of “Hamlet” let by Riz Ahmed, and recently filmed “Starve Acre,” a horror film, with “House of the Dragon” star Matt Smith in North England. “It was the opposite to [‘The Rings of Power’]. It was a very small crew all in one location, so it was a good tonic,” she says.
After wrapping press for “Rings of Power,” Clark will be ready to get “back on the horse” for season two, literally.
“All this press stuff seems like a mad holiday. So it’ll be nice to get back into something that I’m a bit more familiar with and get back to doing it,” she says, adding that learning how to horse ride was a highlight of working on the series.
“I’ve always wanted to ride, never had,” she adds. “I think that riding a horse is as close to magic as we can get.”