Whether it’s J.M. Barrie and “Finding Neverland” or A. A. Milne and “Goodbye Christopher Robin,” no famous author is safe from the biopic treatment in which the origins of his or her greatest literary work is contextualized in their personal lives. Next up in the genre is J. R. R. Tolkien, the English writer who created Middle Earth and wrote the massively successful “The Lord of the Rings” franchise and “The Hobbit,” among other notable works like “The Silmarillion.”
The official synopsis from Fox Searchlight reads: “‘Tolkien’ explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. This takes him into the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the ‘fellowship’ apart. All of these experiences would inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-Earth novels.”
Nicholas Hoult is taking on the title role, while Lily Collins is starring as Tolkien’s lifelong love and wife Edith Bratt. The supporting cast includes Tom Glynn-Carney, Anthony Boyle, Patrick Gibson, Albie Marber, Colm Meaney, and Genevieve O’Reilly. The film is Hoult’s first release since earning some of the strongest reviews of his career for his supporting turn in “The Favourite,” nominated for 10 Academy Awards this year. Hoult is reprising his role as Hank McCoy/Beast in the summer tentpole “X-Men: Dark Phoenix.”
“Tolkien” is directed by Dome Karukoski, the Finnish filmmaker behind “The Grump” and “Tom of Finland.” Screenwriters David Gleeson (“Cowboys and Aliens”) and Stephen Beresford (“Pride”) joined forces on the script. The drama is opening this summer as counter-programming to tentpoles and could draw a sizable audience given how popular “The Lord of the Rings” franchise continues to be in film thanks to Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy.
Fox Searchlight will open “Tolkien” in select theaters beginning May 10. Watch the first official trailer below.