In a back room of Greenwich Village’s White Horse Tavern, the after-work crowd mixes with tourists thirsty for Coronas on an unseasonably hot night. In these unlikely confines, the actor Celyn Jones is reciting some Dylan Thomas. “And death shall have no dominion,” he says, affecting the deep, descending timbre that the Welshman was known for. “His voice is based on that of a vicar. It sounds so strange because this guy is so punk rock yet he doesn’t sound very punk rock.”
On the wall, a life-size portrait of the great Welsh poet looks silently over his shoulder at Jones. The actor takes a sip of whiskey – he won’t come close to downing the notorious 18 whiskeys that Thomas drank here, sending him to an early grave at the age of 39 in 1953. Director Andy Goddard and Elijah Wood, who co-stars with Jones in the Thomas bio-pic Set Fire to the Stars, smile approvingly while nursing beers.
Like Thomas, Jones and Goddard have come to America from Wales to expand their horizons. In their case, to promote the film, which opened this weekend in New York before rolling out nationally. This stop at Thomas’s old haunt is a first for Wood, who flew in from Los Angeles, and a second for Goddard, but for Jones, it’s a regular pilgrimage since he acted in a play here 11 years ago. “The White Horse Tavern goes cheek by jowl with Dylan Thomas,” he says.
Source: The Guardian