A new Dylan Thomas biopic of sorts is in the works from “Downtown Abbey” helmer Andy Goddard. Titled Set Fire to the Stars (a reference to the final line of Thomas’ “Love in the Asylum”), the period feature will tell the story of the turbulent and moving relationship between aspiring poet, John Malcolm Brinnin and his hero, the hellraising Welsh poet whose work Brinnin helped bring to America. Elijah Wood will play Brinnin with Celyn Jones, who scripted alongside Goddard, starring as Thomas.
Set in Fifties America, the film will actually shoot on location in and around Thomas’s spiritual home of Swansea, Wales, from the end of January. Jones will be the latest in an illustrious line of actors to play the Welsh poet including Alec Guinness, Matthew Rhys and Tom Hollander.
“We are very excited to have Elijah in this role,” Jones comments. “He was the only actor in our minds whilst writing the script and to have him on board with his talent, screen presence and international appeal has elevated the entire project. Its also exciting to be making this film on Welsh soil for the rest of the world to enjoy.”
Wood, best known for playing Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, can next be see in the high-concept thriller Grand Piano, hitting theaters in a limited release March 7.
Adding to the onscreen talent is Kelly Reilly (Flight, Sherlock Holmes), who will play Dylan’s wife, Caitlin. Also cast are Shirley Henderson (Harry Potter, Bridget Jones) and Steven Mackintosh (Kick Ass 2, Underworld.
In addition to directing multiple episodes of “Downton Abbey,” (including the season three finale) Goddard has helmed such series as “Doctor Who,” “Dracula” and “Once Upon A Time”. He is also attached to the Patricia Highsmith feature, The Blunderer, being produced by Ted Hope and Killer Films’ Christine Vachon with Sierra/Affinity financing. His debut feature will be produced by up-and-coming producer AJ Riach and co-produced by Andy Evans.
Steve Clark-Hall, who produced the Sherlock Holmes franchise and Guy Ritchie’s forthcoming The Man From U.N.C.L.E. will exec produce. Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals will compose the film score.
(Photo Credit: Guillermo Proano / WENN.com)