||Scott prepares for weighty role in Dylan Thomas film
By Hugh Davies, Entertainment Correspondent, in Venice
Dougray Scott, the Scottish actor noted for his intense preparation for starring roles, is putting on weight to portray Dylan Thomas in a film being made by Mick Jagger about the poet's tempestuous life.
"Yes, a Scotsman playing a Welshman," Scott said at the Venice film festival yesterday. "But I've always loved his writing."
The drama follows Thomas's marriage to the long-suffering Caitlin in 1937 until his death from alcoholism in 1953 at the age of 39. Emily Watson, of Breaking the Waves fame, plays Caitlin.
Cardiff-born Chris Monger, who directed Hugh Grant in The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, has written the script and will direct the £10 million film.
Shooting will begin in January, using the boathouse where Thomas lived at Laugharne and the house where he was born in Swansea. Thomas's favourite drinking haunts are also likely to be included. Among them will be three Welsh locations: Brown's Hotel at Laugharne, the Uplands Tavern in Swansea and seafront bars in Mumbles.
Thomas died in New York and scenes will be shot in a Greenwich Village bar.
Jagger is noted for his admiration of Thomas and his Jagged Films have long been interested in making the film. Victoria Pearman, the singer's partner in the Los Angeles-based company, was raised in Swansea.
They have called the film after a collection of Dylan's poems, Map of Love.
Several actors were considered, among them Daniel Day-Lewis, Rupert Everett and Robert Carlyle. But Jagger wanted Scott, whom he produced in Enigma, the film about wartime code-breaking.
Scott learned the fundamentals of code breaking to play the lead role of Tom Jericho, a mathematics genius. Michael Apted, the director, said: "Dougray's one of the most interesting actors I've worked with. On Enigma he became Tom Jericho, physically and emotionally. He found a voice, transformed his body, even studied mathematics."
Scott, who appeared with Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible II, was in Venice to promote Ripley's Game, based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith. He plays a picture framer, Jonathan Trevanny, who is persuaded by Tom Ripley (John Malkovich) to commit a murder.
Scott spent five weeks working with a picture framer to gain an insight into the craft. To help him further with the character - Trevanny is dying of leukaemia - he talked to Johanna MacVicar, 23, from Bishopton, Renfrewshire, who has chronic myeloid leukaemia.
The film was directed by Liliana Cavani, best known for The Night Porter, the 1974 film starring Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling.
[Edited by CS]