- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Ioan Gruffudd is used to playing extraordinary characters, but his latest comes with a special challenge.

In the “Fantastic Four” movies, he was the brainy shapeshifter Mister Fantastic. In ABC’s upcoming series “Forever,” the Welsh actor plays a man who is fated to die and be reborn over and over - and each time he comes back he’s in the buff.

“It made me appreciate the fact that I had a muscle suit on as Mister Fantastic,” Gruffudd, 39, told a TV critics’ summer meeting Tuesday. “I’m not getting younger, so there’s a commitment to the cause that one has to make” with diet and exercise.

He plays a New York City medical examiner who’s keeping his immortality a secret, with Judd Hirsch playing his sole confidante. Alana De La Garza stars as a police detective who shares cases and chemistry with Gruffudd’s Dr. Henry Morgan.

Asked if they would welcome the chance to live forever, Gruffudd and De La Garza had quick replies.

“It just feels too painful,” he said.

“Outliving your children would just be ….” she said.

“Too much,” Gruffudd said, finishing the sentence.

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