Elijah Wood To Set Fire To The Stars

Playing poet John Malcolm Brinnin

He's been starring in TV comedy Wilfred recently, as well as giving his producing attention to his SpectreVision horror banner (Open Windows, Cooties, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night). But Elijah Wood's next project will be a literary period drama focused on the relationship between poets Dylan Thomas and John Malcolm Brinnin. Downton Abbey's Andy Goddard is Set Fire To The Stars' director.

Wood will play Brinnin opposite Celyn Jones' Thomas, in a film dramatising their fractious friendship. Brinnin was the director of New York's Young Men's And Young Women's Hebrew Association Poetry Centre (AKA the 92nd Street Y), which he raised to some considerable cultural clout during the 1950s. One of his many significant achievements was in bringing Thomas to the States.

His 1955 book Dylan Thomas In America details his trying experience with the poet, whose fondness for a tipple led to some erratic behaviour, such as on-stage breakdowns, obscene outbursts and fights at faculty parties. He often performed his poetry after a few drinks, although it's been suggested that he pretended to be more drunk than he really was. It wasn't all disastrous, however: he unveiled a work-in-progress version of his magnum opus Under Milk Wood at Harvard in 1953.

Goddard is a prolific television director, with episodes of Wire In The Blood, Dr Who and Torchwood under his belt, as well as the recent Dracula and the all-conquering Downton. Set Fire To The Stars marks his first feature film, which he's co-written with Jones. Kelly Reilly, Shirley Henderson and Steven Mackintosh round out the cast, Guy Ritchie is among the producers, and Gruff Rhys of the SuperFurryAnimals is providing the score.

Shooting starts at the end of this month in locations in and around Thomas' native Swansea.