There’s Two Competing J.R.R. Tolkien Biopics Being Made

Here’s the thing about Hollywood. An original idea is never simply that for very long. Sure, you might have independently come up with a cracking story about a compelling figure that’s never been told before. And you might have gotten people interested in pushing the project forward. But as soon as you get any momentum behind the idea, along comes some other lunatic with roughly the same idea as yours, only ever-so-slightly tweaked to avoid litigation. It’s just how things work in the wild western shores of California. If an idea looks like it’s going to potentially going to work, expect a bunch of imitators to try and hitch a ride in your slipstream.

So with that in mind it won’t surprise you to learn that the race is currently on between two competing J.R.R. Tolkien biopics, both in the early stages of pre-production. The two films will cover different angles and periods in Tolkien’s life.

The first, Tolkien & Lewis, is a largely faith-based film centring around Tolkien’s relationship with fellow author CS Lewis. Set at the start of World War I, the film revolves around the period in time during which the devoutly Catholic Tolkien converted the previously staunch atheist Lewis to Christianity, how Lewis in turn encouraged Tolkien to finish the Lord of the Rings series, and how ultimately their relationship soured due to creative and religious differences.

Simon West – whose previous credits include The Expendables 2 and Con (Motherfucking) Air – is reportedly already attached to direct this version of the Tolkien story, and it looks set to be the first of the two to make it to cinemas.

However the second film, simply titled Tolkien, looms as the one more likely to land with audiences due to it’s non-faith based thematic content. Fox Searchlight is developing the more straightforward biopic, which is being written by smalltime Irish writer – and purported Tolkien superfan – David Gleeson. This incarnation of the story focuses more on the events that shaped Tolkien’s works, including his service in World War I, and professorship at Pembroke College.

Fox is banking on this film, with its more straightforward, no-nonsense approach being the one that piques the interest of Tolkien superfans.
Though no casting has been announced for either, it’s clear that the Hollywood studios feel that this is a surefire way to keep the money making machine that is the Lord of the Rings name chugging along for at least a little while longer. Or, y’know, until someone finally figures out exactly how the hell to put a version of The Silmarillion onto the screen.
Either way, let the two of ’em duke it out and see who’s the better film, I say! Fight for the audience! Fight for our love! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

via Slashfilm.