James Strong is heading to Middle Earth.
The British director of Broadchurch, Gracepoint and Downton Abbey will helm the biopic about author J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The film — featuring a script by Angus Fletcher, based on six years of interviews and archival research — will chart the tumultuous events that inspired him to pen Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies: when war broke out in 1914, disrupting his Oxford life with his wife Edith Bratt, Tolkien embarked on four years of battle, hardship, and new friendships, which served to shape his imagination and start him on the path to Middle Earth.
Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, who first greenlit Peter Jackson's risky adaptations while at New Line Cinema, will produce through their Unique Features banner with Rachael Horovitz. Both trilogies grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide.
Protagonist Pictures is handling worldwide sales and is expected to launch the project to buyers at the Berlin Film Festival next year.
Strong is currently directing the AMC/ITV miniseries Liar, starring Ioan Gruffudd and Joanne Froggatt. He has also directed episodes of The Best Possible Taste, 11.22.63 and Doctor Who, as well as the Manchester United film United.
He is repped by CAA, Plattform and United Agents.