There are rumblings in Hollywood that the Tolkien craze isn’t over. In fact, there are at least two different Tolkien biopics in development. The information is still a little sketchy and there’s no word on who will be cast as the Professor. There are some interesting tidbits, which I’ve rounded up below, along with references for where I got the info.
Biopic 1: Tolkien
- The film will focus on Tolkien’s experiences during World War I and his time at Pembroke College. 1 (I presume Edith will figure more in this film, although I have yet to read confirmation.)
- It will be produced by Chernin Entertainment. 2 They’ve produced large-budget films like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Oblivion. 3
- The movie will be written 4 and directed 5 by David Gleeson. He seems to have only done indie films, his most well-known being Cowboys & Angels 6 (no, I haven’t heard of it, either).
- The projected release is in 2015. 7
Biopic 2: Tolkien & Lewis
- As the name implies, this film will focus on the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. 8
- The tentative release date is Easter 2015. 9 This is appropriate since the film is attempting to “court the faith-based audience.” 10
- It’s farther along in development than Tolkien. 11 It already has a director attached to it–Simon West. His most recent credit is Expendables 2. 12 To my exceeding amusement, I discovered that he is also responsible for the music video for “Never Gonna Give You Up.” 13
- Some of the official comments make the film sound pretty darn dramatic:
- “Lewis becoming the poster boy for Christianity upset Tolkien. And obsessive genius Tolkien is blocked, terrified of finishing The Fellowship of the Ring, for fear of the strange, psychotic visions which torture him.” 14
- “[J]ealousy, paranoia and religious differences” are what drove Tolkien and Lewis apart. 15
- The film will apparently touch on Tolkien’s memories of World War I. 16
Biopic 3: Jack & Tollers (?)
- The film is being produced by Third Dart Studios. 17
- Third Dart has exclusive rights to Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship by Colin Duriez, so presumably much of the material for the film will come from that book. 18
- The Third Dart website has a little about the film:
- Concept trailer (just a bunch of words, really)
- Synopsis of the film, which includes, “Although very different men, their unexpected friendship becomes a strong reinforcement and catalyst for ordinary men of academia to become extraordinary voices of Hope for the world… Jack & Tollers is a story which reminds us the best moments of our lives happen with friends by our side.”
- Excerpt from the script, which seems slightly rough. It includes Tolkien apparently listening to a leaf and then telling Lewis that Lewis had to buy the first pint of beer at the pub.
The latter two films sound a little overly-dramatic. Tolkien is the one that piques my interest the most, since it’s looking at an area of Tolkien’s life that isn’t always discussed as much, since it predates LotR. I like the idea of seeing more of Edith, which is much more likely in that film than it is in the other two.
I’m definitely going to keep a close eye on all of this and provides updates as I find them. Honestly, I’m not even positive that any of these will go through, considering how careful the Tolkien Estate is. But we shall see!
The Rolling Stone did an article on Five Actors Who Could Play Tolkien. Not sure that I agree with all of their choices (although David Tenant as Tolkien would admittedly make me squee with the nerdiness of it all), but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.
8 http://www.firstshowing.net/2014/there-are-two-biopics-about-author-j-r-r-tolkien-in-development/ (comment)