Singer Charlotte Church and former Labour leader Neil Kinnock have joined the cast of a film version of Under Milk Wood, Dylan Thomas’s tender play about Welsh village life.
They will join actor Rhys Ifans, who will narrate the film which is being shot in Pembrokeshire and follows the day in the life of a fictional village.
Church will play the role of the young mother Polly Garter who pines for her dead lover Little Willy Wee, while Kinnock and Gareth Edwards, the Welsh rugby legend from the 1970s, will make guest appearances as other characters in the film.
This is only the second cinematic version of Thomas’ much-loved “Play for Voices” which was first performed for radio in 1954.
The only other film version was made in Fishguard in 1971 and starred Richard Burton in the narrator role.
Dozens of villagers have been cast as extras in the project which is set in the fictional seaside town of Llareggub – a Thomas in-joke because it spells “Bugger all” backwards.
The production, being partly financed by Welsh broadcaster S4C, will be filmed in English and Welsh where it has the title Dan Y Wenallt, which translates literally as Under the Mountain.
Director Kevin Allen, who also directed the successful Welsh film Twin Town which was set in Swansea and starred Ifans, said of the film: “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.”
The film is one of many cultural events marking the centenary of Thomas’s birth this year. They have included a BBC2 film about the last days of Thomas’s Life, A Poet in New York which starred Tom Hollander as the poet and aired earlier this year.