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Ambitious Dylan Thomas Adaptation 'Under Milk Wood,' Starring Rhys Ifans, Headed for Production

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! March 21, 2014 at 12:26PM

Lit buffs rejoice! Iconic Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' 1954 radio play "Under Milk Wood" is slated for a new film adaptation, with Rhys Ifans tapped to star in a role once played by Richard Burton.
Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans

Lit buffs rejoice! Iconic Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' 1954 radio play "Under Milk Wood" is slated for a new film adaptation, with Rhys Ifans tapped to star. It will be shot back-to-back in both English and Welsh for seven weeks this summer.

Kevin Allen, who will direct and produce, and fFATTI fFILMS announced this morning that they finally secured the UK and international film rights to Dylan Thomas' wondrous literary work about the inner lives of the denizens of a fictional Welsh town. 

Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas

In this "Play for Voices," Ifans stars as First Voice, a role once played by Richard Burton alongside Elizabeth Taylor in director Andrew Sinclair's 1972 film version. This latest iteration of "Under Milk Wood" will take a dark, dreamlike approach to the source material, while maintaining Thomas' bawdy sense of humor. 

Ifans is Welsh himself and knows a thing or two about working with literature, as he has starred in "Vanity Fair," "The Shipping News" and soon will appear in "Madame Bovary" alongside Mia Wasikowska. He ought to be a good fit for such an unusual, and potentially juicy, role.

"Milk Wood" director Kevin Allen will be joined by a diverse development team including poet/writer Murray Lachlan Young and metaphysics guru Michael Breen (intriguing!). The production will be partly financed by Welsh broadcaster S4C and will be accompanied by a documentary film about Thomas, recently shot for the Dylan 100 Centenary celebrations, with Ifans presenting.

In other Thomas news, Elijah Wood recently signed on to star in "Set Fire to the Stars," a film about the relationship between Thomas and fellow poet John Malcolm Brinnin. In 2008, Brit director John Maybury told a fictional story about Dylan Thomas' love life in "The Edge of Love" starring Keira Knightley.

This article is related to: Rhys Ifans, News, casting

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.