J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic Eyes X-Men’s Nicholas Hoult for Lead

Tolkien will chronicle the events that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.


Joseph Baxter

Jul 26, 2017

While the major works of John Ronald Reuel (J.R.R.) Tolkien were adapted in an epic manner in contemporary film by director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy, a film project will covet another story connected to the influential author: namely, his own. While the biopic, titled Tolkien, has been in the pipeline for a few years, things are now moving rapidly, with not only the appointment of director Dome Karukoski, but a prospective star in Nicholas Hoult. 

Tolkien Biopic Cast

Nicholas Hoult is reportedly the frontrunner to star in Tolkien. However, according to Variety, sources claim that the negotiations are still in early stages. The gig, of course, would have Hoult play one of the 20th century’s most celebrated authors in J.R.R. Tolkien, chronicling the monumental war-torn life events that inspired his creation of the majestic Middle Earth lore.

While Hoult has become a perennial blockbuster actor, playing Hank McCoy/Beast in the current X-Men films and was a catchphrase-coining standout in 2015’s apocalyptic franchise revival Mad Max: Fury Road, this prospective role in Tolkien won’t even be his first experience playing a famous 20th century author, having played the role of the reclusive J.D. Salinger in this fall’s Rebel in the Rye. Hoult’s historical role run will also manifest with December’s The Current War in which he plays Nikola Tesla opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s Thomas Edison. Another role reprisal as Beast in X-Men: Dark Phoenix arrives in fall 2018.

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Tolkien Biopic Crew

Dome Karukoski will direct Tolkien, working off a script by David Gleeson (The Front Line, Cowboys & Angels) and actor-turned-writer Stephen Beresford (Pride). The Finnish director Karukoski is known for films from his home country such as 2017’s Tom of Finland, 2014’s The Grump and 2010’s Lapland Odyssey. With that creative crew set into place, casting for Tolkien is reportedly starting under the auspices of production company Chernin Entertainment at the behest of Fox Searchlight.

This, coupled with the rumblings about prospective star Nicholas Hoult was the first major movement on the J.R.R. Tolkien biopic endeavor since last fall, when the same trade reported that the project – then-titled Middle Earth – had tapped James Strong (Broadchurch, Downton Abbey) to direct, working off a script by a burgeoning screenwriter Angus Fletcher. However, the premise of the project in its current form as Tolkien seems to be the same, chronicling the author’s youthful experiences in which friendships, love, and an outcast status at school all lead to the horrors of the trenches in the First World War.

Tolkien Biopic Story

Tolkien explores the circumstances that shaped Tolkien into becoming the author of the world’s most famous fantasy novels. The film will show how the marriage of young Tolkien to Edith Bratt was interrupted in 1914 by World War I. After deliberation, Tolkien enlisted, experiencing four years of the world-altering global conflagration. The experiences would become the inspiration for Tolkien’s conception of 1937’s The Hobbit; a mythology he would expand exponentially with 1954-1955’s The Lord of the Rings novel trilogy, along with several supplemental Middle Earth-based stories, many of which would be published posthumously under the editorial stewardship of his son Christopher.

Tolkien certainly has compelling source material to utilize in telling the iconic author’s story, which was wrought in not only war, but a quirky romance. Moreover, it will be interesting for fans both casual and passionate to witness the events that drove a certain young second lieutenant in the British Army to conjure the magical, ethereal, quasi-medieval world of Middle Earth and weave the intricate details of its sprawling mythology.

The Tolkien production has yet to lock down any significant dates on the calendar.

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