With the second instalment of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hitting big screens this winter, what better time to announce a biopic of the author J.R.R. Tolkien? Fox Searchlight, the company behind last year’s acclaimed biographical comedy-drama, Hitchcock, are working on another biopic about the author of Lord of the Rings.
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” The famous words which started an epic journey for Bilbo Baggins, and indeed the whole world of Middle Earth. Tolkien, a professor at Oxford University at the time, was in the middle of marking exam papers when he turned to a page that was left blank. Scribbling down the words above, he soon formed the story in his head, and was encouraged by his children and friends to complete and have it published.
The film, according to reports, will chronicle key moments in the novelist’s life which lead to the eventual creation of The Hobbit. We’re not sure yet whether the film will depict the beginnings the same way as the above account, but we do know that the writer David Gleeson will focus on Tolkien’s time at Oxford University and as a soldier in WW1.
The film is also meant to cover the friendship between Tolkien and fellow author C.S. Lewis, with whom he studied and created the group Inklings in an Oxford pub. How much of what we know of their friendship is true? Will their supposed dislike for one another’s works be covered? So many questions to be answered.
It would actually be quite amazing if Chernin Entertainment and co have permission to make a biopic. The Tolkien estate is famously protective of the author’s output, and known for its severity towards those using his copyrighted works without permission. Just last year the estate sued Warner Bros for £49 million in damages because of unauthorised merchandising of Tolkien’s books.
Other films which have chronicled famous authors and their stories journeys from pen to paper include: Finding Neverland and Miss Potter which were about JM Barrie and Beatrix Potter, not to mention Shadowlands about a crucial period in the life of Tolkien’s friend C.S. Lewis.
As of yet we are unclear whether the project has been given the go-ahead.
Are you interested in a biopic about JRR Tolkien?