RodrigoEXCLUSIVE: Rodrigo Santoro, who reprised his role as Xerxes in this year’s 300: Rise of an Empire ($330M+ worldwide) and was the voice of Tulio in Fox’s animated fav Rio 2 ($450M ww), has stepped into the indie drama about Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. Dominion, which is based on the last day of Thomas’ short life at the White Horse Tavern in New York, is being shot in black and white by Steven Bernstein (cinematographer on Monster, Like Water for Chocolate) from his own script. The film also stars John Malkovich and Rhys Ifans.

Santoro will play the bartender at the White Horse, a pivotal role as a character who continues to communicate with Thomas throughout the film. Diego Luna was previously being talked up for the role. The tavern, which opened in 1880, became a well-known Bohemian hangout in New York in Greenwich Village in the 1950s and is still a going concern on Hudson and 11th St. The film is being produced by Richard Gladstein, who noted, “It’s not a biopic at all, but rather a testament to the man and his legacy.” Thomas died at the age of 39 of pneumonia but was a voracious drinker.

Santoro is hot as can be right now starring alongside Will Smith and Margot Robbie in the heist movie Focus and having just wrapped The 33, the true film about the Chilean miners. He also starred alongside Natalie Portman and Bradley Cooper in the western, Jane Got a Gun. As if that’s not enough, he is also associate producing the biopic Pele about the legendary soccer (or football, depending on your country) player, a project that’s currently in post with Brian Grazer. Speaking of soccer, he just starred and produced Heleno about Brazlian soccer star Heleno de Frietas which recently sold to HBO for distribution. Not bad timing since we are heading into the World Cup which kicks off June 13th and continues through mid-July.

The title of this film, Dominion, is obviously drawn from one of his most famous poems, And Death Shall Have No Dominion. As an aside, Ifans is a huge Dylan Thomas fan and is an expert on the poet. He is even planning a documentary on the Welshman. 

Also included in the cast are Zosia Mamet (playwright David’s daughter who is best known for Girls), Tony Hale, and Philip Ettinger. Romola Garai (Emma mini-series) who has twice been nominated for Golden Globes, plays Caitlan Thomas.

He is repped by ICM Partner and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.