Morfydd Clark may be a new name for some. But the star of the new Amazon Prime Video series, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, isn’t new to Hollywood.
The journey back to Middle Earth, which premiered on September 1st, is full of mesmerizing talent. But one of the true stars is Morfydd Clark as the immortal elf, Galadriel.
The Welsh actress is no stranger to television and movies, but this mega-budget global franchise is a whole new beast. Curious about Clark’s background? Read on to get to know the star and trace her career from its start until the present day.
Morfydd Clark, 33, was born in Sweden. Her birthday is March 17, 1989. According to The Ancestory, Clark’s mother is Welsh, and her father is Northern Irish Glaswegian. When she was two, she and her family moved to Penarth, Wales, and she was raised in Cardiff.
Clark was an avid reader as a child, enjoying the Scandinavian books that celebrated loud, ungrateful, and impatient children. She is also fluent in both English and Welsh.
At the age of seven, Clark was diagnosed with ADHD. Additionally, she’s also struggled with dyslexia.
“I’m very bad at making myself do anything that I’m not finding, like, extremely fun.” Clark told GQ magazine, going into more detail about the difficulty she had participating in school.
Her Welsh teachers called her “hollol di gwilydd,” meaning “totally without shame.” Due to these struggles, Clark left school at sixteen. But it was for the best as her acting career was just about to take off.
After leaving school, Clark snagged a role in the British Youth Music Theatre’s production of According to Brian Haw in 2009. She then won roles in productions at the National Youth Theatre of Wales, after which she applied and was accepted into the Drama Centre London.
Her film and television career began in 2014, with film roles in Madame Bovary and The Falling. She also appeared in the TV miniseries New Worlds and the made-for-TV movie, A Poet in New York. Clark was booking roles working with heavy hitters such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Armando Iannucci before she snagged her first major role as the title character in Saint Maud, which premiered in 2019.
Her Approach to Her Characters
Clark told GQ Magazine that after her role in this psychological thriller, she worried that she had become like Maud, making people feel uncomfortable. She went on to say that she doesn’t believe in method acting being used as an excuse to treat people badly.
“I loathe method acting being used as a way to just be obnoxious to crew and everyone.” Clark said to GQ.
Instead, Clark is consumed by her characters in a different way. She thinks about them all the time, wondering about simple things like, “What would they be like buying bread?”
2019 was a good year for Clark since she also booked four episodes of the fantasy drama TV series, His Dark Materials on HBO. She played Sister Clara, a nurse at Bolvanger tasked with assessing and caring for the children as they arrived. Her 2019 roles showcased her talent to the world. And she was on the trajectory that led her to be cast in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power later that year.
Though she knew she was cast in The Rings of Power, Clark told Variety she didn’t know which character she was playing until she arrived in New Zealand to start filming season one. Showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay broke the news to her on day one that she wasn’t playing just any elf. But she had the role of the Queen of the elves: Galadriel.
Morfydd Clark as Galadriel
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Galadriel is an immortal elf, initially played by the esteemed and beautiful Cate Blanchett in the Lord of the Rings films. Clark plays the younger version of Blanchett’s Galadriel. However, she is still thousands of years old.
According to Variety, the Galadriel of this new series is not the same serene, wise elf of the movie trilogy. Instead, she is fueled by grief and rage on the hunt for the Dark Lord Sauron, who recently murdered her brother. Clark brings this character to life, capturing the many nuisances of the complex Galadriel.
The fact that Clark speaks Welsh helped her with the role of Galadriel. J.R.R Tolkien’s Elvish language is based on Welsh, making it easier for Clark to grasp than some of her non-Welsh costars. The Ancestory reports that Clark even helped her costars to learn and pronounce some of the Elvish words.
While she may have had an advantage with the language, that didn’t mean she didn’t face difficulties. Clark is used to playing the victim in her roles. For example, in Saint Maud, her character was a traumatized nurse with mental health issues. The role of Galadriel was a new experience for her.
Clark revealed she struggled with flinching in the fight scenes in Rings of Power. She had to undergo exposure therapy to prepare for the battle and action sequences of the series.
“When I was playing Galadriel, the stunt team said, ‘You’ve got a problem because you’re used to being attacked on film.'” Clark said.
“I would flinch a lot when people came at me. So they did exposure therapy with me, where I would have all these huge, huge men running at me, screaming with swords. To stop me from looking frightened. Because I’ve definitely been cast as the victim. And Galadriel is not that.” she added.
In addition to exposure therapy, Clark trained extensively with her stunt team to be able to fight, climb, and swim as an immortal, powerful elf.
Clark does not disappoint in her role as Galadriel. And you won’t want to miss what she and this show have to offer. The first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power dropped on Amazon Prime Video on September 1st. So be sure to check out Morfydd Clark in her breakout role and watch her star rise in real-time.