The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien wants nothing to do with an upcoming biopic that stars Nicholas Hoult as the Lord of the Rings author. In a recent statement, the authors estate noted that it was not involved in the making of the film, which follows Tolkien from his school years to his service in World War I—which all inspired him to write an iconic fantasy book series about hobbits, elves, and orcs.
“The family of J.R.R. Tolkien and the Tolkien Estate are aware of the Fox Searchlight motion picture entitled Tolkien that is due for release in May 2019,” the estate said. “The family and the Estate wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorize, or participate in the making of the film. They do not endorse it or its content in any way.”
Fox Searchlight, the studio behind the Dome Karukoski-directed film, stood behind the project after the Tolkien estates firm declaration. “While we did not work with the Tolkien estate on this project, the filmmaking team has the utmost respect and admiration for Mr. Tolkien and his phenomenal contribution to literature,” the studio said in a statement of its own, per *The Guardian.*
The film, which also stars Lily Collins as Edith Bratt, Tolkiens wife and the inspiration behind characters like the elven princess Lúthien, is due in U.S. theaters on May 10.
This isnt the first time the Tolkien estate has stepped forward to combat the movie industry. In 2017, the estate settled an $80 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. over the digital merchandising of products from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie adaptations. It claimed the studio was violating copyright infringement and ultimately harming Tolkiens legacy. The settlement terms were not publicly disclosed.
While the biopic might not have the estates support, Tolkien fans have other adaptations to look forward to—most prominently, Amazons pricey forthcoming TV adaptation of the Lord of the Rings series. The mammoth project will see the streamer try to capture the fantasy audience that HBO has held for nearly the last decade thanks to Game of Thrones. That, presumably, has the estates support all the way.
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