You might think the movies-about-writers genre in Hollywood is something most studios (especially these days) aren’t too eager to jump on. But, we suppose things change when you can find a way to work “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” into the marketing. With those books having brought to the big screen budget-busting, runtime-stretching, popcorn-buttering blockbuster trilogies, now the man behind Middle Earth himself is going to get the movie treatment.
Fox Searchlight is developing a biopic of J.R.R. Tolkien, and have set “superfan” David Gleeson to pen the script. And certainly, Tolkien’s lived a helluva a life. In addition to creating expansive worlds from his vivid imagination, he fought in World War I, worked for the Oxford English Dictionary, was a codebreaker during WWII, and was a leading researcher, academic, poet, professor and more. So, it’s not hard to see a movie in there. That being said, there is still one very big obstacle to all this happening: the actual Tolkien estate.
A prickly bunch, they’ve long been critical of Peter Jackson‘s movies (which they claim lack the “beauty and seriousness” of the original works) and have sued Warner Bros. as well for various rights issues. The LA Times notes that the family also were behind development stalling on “Mirkwood,” a brewing fictional account of Tolkien’s WWII achievements. And undoubtedly, they’ll have something to say about this project.
Still, with Tolkien’s books as popular as ever, Fox Searchlight probably reckon it’s worth a try anyway, so we’ll see how this goes.