Ifans 'number one choice for role'
Rhys Ifans was always top choice to play Howard Marks in the film of hit book Mr Nice, the author has revealed.
Ifans, who plays the former drug smuggler in the film adaptation of his autobiography, was ideal because of his "enjoyment of caning, his deep sincerity and his wisdom", Marks said.
Speaking at the Welsh Gala of the film, which received its UK premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival earlier this year, Marks said: "He's not bad-looking and it was very important I was played by someone younger, better-looking and taller.
"We are close friends and we have a lot in common."
Director Bernard Rose said he was equally keen to sign Ifans up for the part.
He said: "When I first met Howard, there were some very famous actors being bandied about to play him and I said to Howard I thought we should cast a Welshman and there was really only one and it was Rhys."
The book, which topped bestseller lists, details Marks's childhood in south Wales and time at Oxford University through to his life dealing marijuana.
The film adaptation stars American actress Chloe Sevigny as Marks's wife Judy and Rose said he was thrilled that she joined the cast.
He said: "Chloe bears not a small resemblance to Judy Marks and she strikes me as a wonderful actress who could really take on anything and she struck me as someone who might have married Howard back in the day.
"She's a quirky soul and follows her own drummer and we were fortunate she wanted to do it."