Fox Searchlight Plans Biopic for Author J.R.R. Tolkien

By November 22, 2013


No, the big screen simply isn’t done with the legacy of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien. But rest assured, we don’t bring news of a fourth Hobbit film (though, honestly, we wouldn’t put it past Peter Jackson and company), instead Fox Searchlight is going for something a little bit different.

The L.A. Times reports that the studio (not Warner Bros., which is home to Jackson’s films based on the author’s books) is developing a biographical picture about the beloved scribe. The outlet shares that the film, now simply titled Tolkien, “will examine the author’s life, particularly his formative years at Pembroke College and as a soldier in World War I, and how it influenced him and his work.”

David Gleeson is currently at work on the script, and his involvement should help put some fan worries at ease – he is described as “a Tolkien superfan and scholar of sorts about the Middle-earth creator.” Gleeson has previously written smaller scripts for films like The Front Line and Cowboys & Angels, but his apparent affection for Tolkien makes him sound like a good fit.

J R R Tolkien

As the Times notes, the South African-born Tolkien served “in the Great War, where many of his closest friends were killed in combat. That experience affected him deeply, and he would come to channel both his friends and their fates into his writing and world-creation.” These early years were deeply formidable for Tolkien and his works, and fans should love seeing that part of his story portrayed on the big screen.

Tolkien would mark the first large-scale biopic of the author, as previous attempts have run “into obstacles from the very private Tolkien estate (it’s unknown to what extent they will be cooperating on Gleeson’s movie).” Here’s hoping that the family supports this endeavor, however, because it certainly sounds like Tolkien could be a worthy continuation of the author’s stories.

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss,, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.