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Elijah Wood Joins Dylan Thomas Biopic Set Fire To The Stars

While "movies about legendary and slightly eccentric writers" isn’t exactly the most obvious sub-genre to spring up, cinema has certainly carved out a place for it in recent years, with Kill Your Darlings and On the Road both finding their fans and detractors in the last year or so. The next wordsmith to get the big screen treatment is Dylan Thomas for the film Set Fire to the Stars, which has landed Downton Abbey director Andy Goddard to helm, and Elijah Wood to star as poet and literary critic John Malcolm Brinnin. That’s right, Wood is joining a film that is neither a thriller or a Middle Earth fantasy.

He will star opposite Welsh actor Celyn Jones (Jo), who will portray the oft-drunk Welsh poet, and also co-wrote the script with Goddard. While the film doesn’t appear to be based on any particular biographical work, it will tell the story of the friendship between the men; Brinnin was a major factor in getting Thomas to move to America from the U.K. in the years before his death in 1953.

Things weren’t always so swell between the men, as Thomas’ drinking and erratic behavior got increasingly worse, a period of time that was detailed in Brinnin’s 1955 book Dylan Thomas in America. Some critics have derided Brinnin’s take on things and have even implicated him for playing a part in Thomas’ death, though those are mostly ridiculous claims. It’ll be interesting to see how the film handles this complicated relationship.

According to THR, the film will be produced by A.J. Riach (Battle of the Sexes) and will also star Shirley Henderson (Filth), Steven Mackintosh (The Sweeney) and Kelly Reilly (Flight). Providing the film’s score will be Gruff Rhys of the Welsh rock band Super Furry Animals.

This will be Goddard’s first feature, though he has made a name for himself on TV directing episodes of series such as Torchwood and Law & Order: UK before taking on several episodes of Downton Abbey. He then made the switch last year to American series Dracula and Once Upon a Time.

Wood has been popping up in a string of horrors and thrillers over the past few years, even starting up his own horror production company. Last year he starred in the discomforting slasher remake Maniac, and he’ll be seen throughout 2014 in the suspense-filled Grand Piano, the horror comedy Cooties and the computer-centric thriller Open Windows with ex-porn star Sasha Grey. And of course he’ll reprise his role as the nebbish Ryan on the surreal comedy Wilfred when it moves to FXX later this year.

Set Fire to the Stars will not go gentle into that good night when it begins production at the end of the month on location in and around Swansea, Wales and Thomas’ home. Are any of you guys out there fans of the "doomed poet?"

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.