Welsh actor Matthew Rhys (and rumoured love interest of Sienna Miller) talks about his role in The Edge of Love
Brothers and Sisters star Matthew Rhys, 33, gets to play the role every Welsh actor wanted – that of the iconic poet Dylan Thomas in The Edge of Love, which co-stars Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley and Cillian Murphy.
Do you think this is your breakthrough role?
No. I’ve done a number of projects where people go, ‘This is your breakthrough role’, so I’ve stopped thinking that. I’ve not given it much thought.
Do you think Dylan Thomas was miserable most of the time?
I think he was very tormented. He had a lot of demons, which were inflicted by his own parents, which he never really resolved. And he was terrorised by his own relationship with Caitlin [his wife, played by Miller]. It was so intense and so destructive. They loved each other so much that it was a pain and a burden.
You put on weight for the role. Was that tough?
I’ve never done that before, put weight on for a part. It’s the first time I’ve had to do it. And you do notice that other people notice – like, ‘Oh, you look…healthy!’ I went to a nutritionist, as you can put a lot of weight on easily, but you can clog your arteries doing it. So she advised me how to put weight on healthily. She said you should not put more than a stone-and-a-half on, as it does affect your health. And she gave me a stone-and-a-half of fat to hold. It was so heavy! And I think, ‘I’m going to put this on my body!’ But I did – and I enjoyed it. I hit a lot of pies and Guinness.
You live in LA now. Do you hang out with fellow ex-pat Ioan Gruffudd and feel nostalgic for Wales?
Oh, yeah! Actually, we’ve gone a bit over the top. On St. David’s Day this year, we got together and cooked a whole lamb, then we caught ourselves going, ‘We have to calm down. We’re turning into real clichés here!’
You’re now a regular on TV series Brothers and Sisters. It’s quite unusual that your character’s homosexuality isn’t an issue in the show, don’t you think?
That was the firm intention right from the get-go. They didn’t want any whiff of cliché about him, that he wasn’t defined or driven by his sexuality. He just happens to be gay. There was no coming out story or a problem with being gay. He was just another family member who happens to be gay. And that’s why it’s done well within the gay community.
The Edge of Love opens on 20 June.