|With The Battle Of The Five Armies, the final installment in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy set to be released in December, the literary and cinematic worlds will come together once again in shared appreciation for the source material’s author, J.R.R. Tolkien.
Those with a craving for more Tolkien related big screen action will be delighted to hear that not one, but two, motion picture biopics are in the pipeline, each exploring a different aspect of the revered writer’s life.
Here is everything you need to know about the prospects of ‘Tolkien & Lewis’ and ‘Tolkien’.
• Tolkien & Lewis, as the title suggests, will concentrate on the close and interesting personal friendship between Tolkien and the author of the Narnia chronicles, CS Lewis. The two men had a strong platonic relationship and inspired one another greatly in their decades of friendship, but complicated matters of religion eventually saw a tension and split in their relationship.
• It is anticipated that the film will explore the authors’ time spent teaching together at Oxford University, and the way in which the devout Catholic Tolkien introduced and converted an agnostic Lewis to Christianity. The theme of religion then became one of great prevalence in Lewis’ chronicles of Narnia and gained him certain notoriety among academic and religious circles. This spotlight on Lewis’ behalf left a strain on his friendship with The Lord Of The Rings writer, who was arguably begrudging of the renown that his own religious teachings had brought to his friend.
• Simon West, director of vastly different films such as Con Air and The Expendables 2 is slated to be directing the picture, and will be looking to apply a much lighter and sincere touch than that shown in his previous successful action and comedic ventures. An unusual but interesting choice of vision to bring this story of academic friendship to the big screen.
• The film will be a relatively small project boasting a budget of just $18 million and will be produced by Attractive Films.
• It is slated to be released during the Easter period to attract as much of a religious viewing audience as possible, taking advantage of the Christian holiday to emphasize the film’s religious themes.
• The second and competing film, simply titled Tolkien, is set to be a bigger budget picture with much more widespread appeal than Tolkien & Lewis.
Planned by Fox Searchlight in partnership with Chernin Entertainment and working from a script by renowned Tolkien scholar David Gleeson, the film is said to be a more standard, straightforward biopic of Tolkien that does not stick to a specific tangent.
The story will focus on key and milestone elements of Tolkien’s life as he grows and develops in to the famous and acclaimed literary figure that we in these contemporary times have come to know and admire.
• Tolkien’s haunting and unforgettable experiences as a soldier in the First World War, including combat at the Battle of the Somme, are believed to be a large aspect of the film’s narrative, along with his time as an academic and teacher at Oxford University, also displaying periods that were not so intrinsically linked with CS Lewis.
• The film should be of more interest to those fans of Tolkien who are more concerned with background information of his genius literary works than with the intricacies of his less publicized private life. The narrative will give insight in to how the author came to pen his world famous works of fantasy literature including The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. The film will aim to show its audience how all the different cultural and educational experiences that Tolkien went through helped to shape the mind of the writer and guide him towards the creation of those novels that are still cherished today and will continue to be cherished for hundreds of years.
Both films have great promise and contain interesting potential narratives. But we must wait with baited breath to discover if we will ever actually see them come to fruition. The Tolkien estate disapproved of and swiftly removed permission for the making of a proposed film called Mirkwood about Tolkien’s time as a code breaker during World War II, clearly the powers that be are very sensitive when it comes to the portrayal and storytelling of the great author.
Regardless of whether you are a fan of The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings, or most likely both, the cinematic Tolkien shaped whole in your heart that will appear after the release of the final Hobbit instalment in December will be remedied slightly by the prospect of either of these films. Some welcome background insight in to the man that brought so many of us such joy both in literature and as the inspiration of modern cinematic classics for the past fifteen years.
Kate Funk is blog writer, essayist and currently writes for www.aussiessay.com. She is a huge fun of Tolkien’s writings and happy to inform you about upcoming biopics.
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