AceShowbiz - Matthew Rhys will bring his legendary fellow Welshman Richard Burton back to life in a new radio play for Audible.
The "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" star, who earned seven Oscar nominations during his career, was almost as famous for his partying and colourful off-screen love life, which included two marriages to Elizabeth Taylor - and "The Americans"' Rhys has been a fan of his work for decades.
When he was an 18-year-old drama student in London, the Emmy winner saw the one-man show "Playing Burton", which was all about his hero's life and career and told from the actor's own perspective, and the play, written by Mark Jenkins, really changed his life.
It also follows his hildhood in an impoverished mining community in South Wales to becoming one of the most acclaimed as well as highly-paid actors in his generation. It will also feature his love affair with fellow "Cleopatra" co-star Elizabeth Taylor as well as his public battle with alcoholism and related health issues prior to his death at the age of 58.
Now he's taking on the role for himself in a new production for Audible's Theater programme - and he couldn't be more honoured.
"The reason I wanted to act was because of Richard Burton," Rhys tells Variety. "Since first seeing his incredible performance in 'Look Back in Anger' to still listening to his audio (recordings) of 'Hamlet' and 'Under Milk Wood'. He blazed the trail for us all and showed us it was possible."
Burton died of a brain haemorrhage, age 58, in 1984.
Catch Matthew as his acting hero on Audible Theater from 28 January (21).