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Tolkien: The Battle of the Two Biopics

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J. R. R. Tolkien is the subject of several biographical films in development.

With the final installment of The Hobbit film trilogy due to hit cinemas in December 2014, the time of Middle-earth films is ending, at least for the present. But as the last Middle-earth film fades to black, it seems that Hollywood’s spotlight is now falling on that world’s creator, J. R. R. Tolkien. The author’s life is the subject of not one, but two biographical films currently in development with projected 2015 release dates.

In late 2013, Fox Spotlight announced the development of Tolkien, as reported here by the LA Times. Screenwriter David Gleeson, himself an avid Tolkien fan, is writing the script, and the film is being produced by Peter Chernin of Chernin Entertainment. The film will look at the author’s life and how it influenced his work, with a focus on his years at Pembroke College and his experiences serving in World War I.

C. S. Lewis

A new film will focus on the friendship between J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis (pictured). Photo via TheCommonVision.org.

Attractive Films, based in London and Brisbane, is working on Tolkien & Lewis. According to the Hollywood Reporter (via Wegotthiscovered.com), Tolkien & Lewis will “court the faith-based audience”, and will center on the relationship between Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, starting near the beginning of World War II.

Wegotthiscovered.com reports that Tolkien & Lewis is farther along in its development than Tolkien, and is expected to be released first, around Easter of 2015. Tolkien may ultimately appeal to a broader audience base than Tolkien & Lewis, since Tolkien is a straightforward biography. Only time will tell, once both films come to cinemas around the world.

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Third Dart Studios is developing ‘Jack & Tollers’, with a planned principal shoot in fall 2014. Photo credit: Third Dart Studios.

The Tolkien biopic field may become even more crowded. In late 2013 and early 2014, reports appeared about a third Tolkien biopic, Jack and Tollers, developed by Third Dart Studios (here is one story on Middle-earth News). The most recent post on Third Dart Studios’ Facebook page, dated May 2014, reported that the studio had acquired exclusive rights to Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship by Colin Duriez. The studio went on to report that a fall 2014 principal shoot is still being planned in Ireland and the UK. It is unclear at this time how this project will figure into the Tolkien biopic battle.

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One Comment

  1. Tolkien and Lewis sounds like a barrel of nonsense to me

    According to Attractive principal Wernher Pramschufer:

    “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.”

    Hmmm