Considering the popularity of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, it’s not surprising that two movies about author J.R.R. Tolkien are currently in the works.
The more prominent of the two biopics, titled simply Tolkien, is being developed by Chernin Entertainment for Fox Searchlight. Irish screenwriter David Gleeson is penning the script, which covers Tolkien’s service in World War I and his career as a professor. On the surface it appears to be more of a straightforward biography than the competing movie, Tolkien & Lewis, from independent studio Attractive Films.
Tolkien & Lewis may be a smaller flick, but it’s more provocative than Tolkein. The story focuses on the meaningful and sometimes turbulent friendship of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The relationship between these two iconic fantasy authors and Oxford colleagues had a huge impact on both their lives and work. Lewis encouraged Tolkien to complete The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the devoutly Catholic Tolkien convinced an agnostic Lewis to return to the church, a decision that greatly influenced his work. Ironically, Lewis’s very public embrace of Christianity was one of the things that created tension between the two men. Jealousy and creative differences also drove Tolkien and Lewis apart, turning them into bitter rivals at times.
Tolkien & Lewis will be helmed by Expendables 2 director Simon West. With plans for an Easter release date, the project could easily debut ahead of Tolkien, which seems to be in the early stages of development and has yet to announce a director.
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