His works still inspire, baffle, and aggravate plenty of people today – producing two cartoon adaptations, six live-action blockbusters, a stage show, and an upcoming Amazon Prime series set before both books. And the influence on the fantasy literature of today is everywhere, especially in the worlds of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones.
Now, a trailer for an upcoming Tolkien biopic has been released. Despite wielding many of the familiar clichés seen in recent biopics about authors such as Goodbye Christopher Robin, it's still full of magic and wonder. Watch it below.
What's the story of Tolkien?
The film looks to start prior to The Hobbit. Tolkien is having dinner with his wife Edith Bratt, telling her about his invented language (probably Quenya, the ancient language of the Elves, at this point). This is when most romantic partners would stop and run away, but Edith remains intensely curious – letting the film explore their first meeting at the age of 16, leading up to Tolkien's time at Oxford University and his time serving in the First World War.
The story also gives time to the Tea Club and Barrovian Society (T.C.B.S.), a literary club formed by Tolkien and three friends that lasted into university. But Rob Gilson and Geoffery Smith, two of its members, died during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, which Tolkien also fought in.
Tolkien's T.C.B.S., prior to the devastation of World War I
Tolkien continued to write in the Trenches. When he was taken ill with trench fever, he wrote stories in a collection that would eventually become The Silmarillion – set during the First Age of 'Middle-earth' (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place in the Third Age).
His experience of death and destruction in the trenches, his need for fantasy in such a hostile environment, and his deep love for Edith, form the basis of this biopic. Fabricated sentimentalism is to be expected, as reality inevitably influences fantasy, but as Gandalf (Ian McKellen) says in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 'all good stories deserve embellishment'.
Who's in the cast of Tolkien?
Taking on the most famous of fantasy writers is Skins and The Favourite actor Nicholas Hoult, who’s no stranger to playing eminent writers (in 2017, he portrayed J.D. Salinger in Rebel in the Rye). Although Hoult isn't emanating Tolkien’s distinguished accent in the trailer, he looks like a wonderfully watchable presence all the same.
Nicholas Hoult looks like a wonderfully watchable presence as Tolkien, alongside Lily Collins as Edith Bratt
Playing his wife Edith Bratt is Lily Collins, who amazed us recently as Fantine in the recent BBC adaptation of Les Miserables – proving her knack for the period drama once more.
Colm Meaney (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa) will play Father Francis Morgan, who became Tolkien’s guardian when he was just 12 years old, after his mother died. Also in supporting roles are Derek Jacobi (Les Miserables), Genevieve O’Reiley (Tin Star, The Kid Who Would Be King), and Laura Donnelly (Britannia, Outlander).
What's the Tolkien release date?
Tolkien will be coming to cinemas on Friday 3 May 2019. We're already waiting impatiently like the pensive Nicholas Hoult in the picture below.
Even Tolkien can't wait for Tolkien...
|What||Tolkien: Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins bring J.R.R. Tolkien's personal tale to life|
03 May 19 – 03 May 20, TIMES VARY
|Price||£ determined by cinemas|
|Website||Click here for more information|