The works of J.R.R. Tolkien are a hot commodity in Hollywood. With Peter Jackson‘s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy grossing billions of dollars worldwide, and Jackson set to continue to milk that success with a two-part adaptation of Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” what better time is there to have your historical fiction novel based on Tolkien’s life turned into a movie?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, that must be what author Steven Hillard and EMO Films were thinking when they inked the deal to turn Hillard’s “Mirkwood: A Novel About J.R.R. Tolkien” into a film. EMO Films are a relatively new shingle who have the previously announced relaunch of the “Tales from the Crypt” series in the works, so they are no strangers to latching onto/reinventing franchises.
“Mirkwood,” named after a forest that appears in many of Tolkien’s works, fictionalizes the accounts of his days spent as a code breaker in World War II. The novel mostly focuses on what would happen if Tolkien’s creations took literal shape in his everyday life. Hillard has been involved in a legal battle with the Tolkien estate for quite some time regarding the fictionalization of the famed author’s life as portrayed in the book. Hillard apparently argued that the book is a work of literary criticism, and he settled with the Tolkien estate, but must include a disclaimer on his book that reads, “This is a work of fiction which is neither endorsed nor connected with The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate or its publisher.” Perhaps that will be at the front of the film as well?
It sounds kind of like James McTeigue‘s “The Raven,” which has cast John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe solving the crimes of a serial killer who’s copying murders from Poe’s own work, but perhaps it could be more substantial than that. Who knows, if you get the right crew and talent involved, perhaps this could be more interesting than the Tolkien adaptation that features an exhausting number of New Wave-influenced elves.