Two studios have decided there’s more life left to wring out of the J.R.R. Tolkien canon. Competing films, Tolkien & Lewis and Fox Searchlight's Tolkien, are making a mad dash to the finish line, according to THR. Tolkien’s enduring stories have universal appeal, and since Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings series established a new respect for fantasy tales, that appeal is stronger than ever.
Irish writer David Gleeson (Cowboys & Angels) is the scribe behind Tolkien. The writer was described previously as a “Tolkien superfan and scholar of sorts about the Middle-earth creator.” Gleeson will focus the biopic on Tolkien’s experiences during World War I and at Pembroke College, to show how his life was reflected in his epic works. During the war, Tolkien was afflicted with “trench fever” and sent back to England. Following his departure, most of the members of his battalion were killed during combat. It was during Pembroke that Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and the first two Lord of the Rings volumes. He later had a fellowship there.
On the other end of the spectrum is Tolkien & Lewis, focused on the writer’s relationship with his University of Oxford colleague, none other than The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis. Tolkien is credited with Lewis’ conversion to Christianity. Previously, Lewis was an atheist. The men encouraged each other to finish their famous works, but their relationship also saw a series of setbacks. “Soon, the two writers' friendship is poisoned by jealousy, paranoia and creative and religious differences,” THR tells us. Simon West (The Expendables 2) will direct the picture, which is aiming for an Easter release, targeting a faith-based audience.
Which Tolkien biopic will you be seeing?
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