Tolkien estate disavows forthcoming film starring Nicholas Hoult
Lord of the Rings author’s estate says it does not ‘approve of or authorise’ new biopic
Starring Hoult in the title role and Lily Collins as his wife Edith, Tolkien explores “the formative years of the renowned author’s life”
The family and estate of JRR Tolkien have fired a broadside against the forthcoming film starring Nicholas Hoult as a young version of the author, saying that they “do not endorse it or its content in any way”.
Out in May, and starring Hoult in the title role and Lily Collins as his wife, Edith, Tolkien explores “the formative years of the renowned author’s life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school”. Directed by Dome Karukoski, it promises to reveal how “their brotherhood strengthens as they grow up … until the outbreak of the first World War which threatens to tear their fellowship apart”, all of which, according to studio Fox Searchlight, would inspire Tolkien to “write his famous Middle-earth novels”.
On Tuesday morning, the estate and family of Tolkien issued a terse statement in which they announced their “wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorise or participate in the making of this film”, and that “they do not endorse it or its content in any way”.
A spokesperson for the estate told the Guardian that the statement was intended to make its position clear, rather than heralding future legal action.
Tolkien’s estate has been careful to protect his legacy. In 2011, it took legal action over a novelthat used the author as a central character, months after his heirs settled a multimillion-pound lawsuit over royalties from the Lord of the Rings films. In 2012, the estate also took legal action over gambling games featuring Lord of the Rings characters, saying that it was “causing irreparable harm to Tolkien’s legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works”.
Christopher Tolkien, the author’s son, has made clear his antipathy to further films, telling Le Monde in 2012 that “Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed by the absurdity of our time”, and that “the commercialisation has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing”.
Peter Jackson, the director of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings films, has previously said that he thought it was unlikely any more films would be made because they couldn’t happen without the estate’s cooperation. But in 2017 the estate sold rights to a new Lord of the Rings television series to Amazon. The multi-series adaption will be based on “previously unexplored stories based on JRR Tolkien’s original writings”. – Guardian