'Community of top Welsh talent' sign up for rival adaptations of Dylan Thomas’s 'Under Milk Wood' to mark the poet's centenary
Charlotte Church, Gareth Edwards, Lord Kinnock, Sir Tom Jones, Michael Sheen, Katherine Jenkins, Griff Rhys Jones and Ioan Gruffudd among those appearing in the two productions
If you are Welsh, have any kind of public profile and are not starring in a screen adaptation of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, then you need to speak with your agent.
Singer Charlotte Church, rugby legend Gareth Edwards and Neil Kinnock have joined the cast of a film version of Dylan Thomas's “play for voices”.
Shot separately in English and Welsh, and part financed by Welsh broadcaster S4C, Rhys Ifans will play First Voice in the film of the famous radio play, set in the fictional Welsh seaside town of Llareggub and first performed in 1954.
Church has been cast in the role of Polly Garter, while Lord Kinnock and Edwards will make guest appearances.
However this Under Milk Wood, with the title Dan Y Wenallt, follows hot on the heels of a BBC Wales adaptation, also timed to coincide with the poet’s centenary, which features practically every other famous Welsh personality.
Sir Tom Jones stars as Captain Cat, alongside Michael Sheen (First Voice), Katherine Jenkins, Matthew Rhys, Jonathan Pryce, Griff Rhys Jones, Bryn Terfel, Ioan Gruffudd, Siân Phillips, Charlotte Church again (Mrs Ogmore Pritchard) and a host of other well-known Welsh actors in the production screened by BBC1 Wales last month.
The BBC said its “unique, one-off” version, presented in collaboration with National Theatre Wales, had gathered “a community of top Welsh talent in New York, Los Angeles, London, Cardiff and Laugharne.”
In Thomas’s play, a narrator introduces Llareggub’s townspeople, beginning with an old sea captain who dreams of his deceased crew members and lost love. Under Milk Wood was previously adapted into a film in 1972, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
The Rhys Ifans film will shoot in the harbour village of Solva, Pembrokeshire, over six weeks. In the S4C version, Church will co-star as Polly Garter, a woman pining for her lost lover. Dozens of villagers have been cast as extras.
Director Kevin Allen said: “We want to veer away from delivering a dull, literal reflection of Thomas's original work, intending instead to explore some of the more erotic, visceral elements of the richly funny, filthily fluid, magical dreamscape - whilst not stooping to mess with Thomas's original text.”
Allen, director of the cult Welsh thriller Twin Town and the uncle of singer Lily Allen, secured the UK and international film rights to the radio drama after lengthy negotiations with the Milkwood Trust. Ifans will also present a making-of documentary as part of the Dylan 100 Centenary celebrations.
For Lord Kinnock, Under Milk Wood marks his first acting performance since the then Leader of the Opposition made a cameo appearance in Tracey Ullman’s 1984 pop video for her single My Guy.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
- 4 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
- 5 #AskNigelFarage: Twitter starts hilarious Q&A for Ukip leader
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt stars in visceral and brutally ugly drama that reminds us war is hell
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Poppy Appeal 2014: This is why I won't be wearing a red poppy this year