J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic in the Works

J.R.R Tolkien - Portrait - 1956
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Peter Chernin's Chernin Entertainment is behind the project, which is set up at Fox Searchlight.

J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, is getting the biopic treatment.

Fox Searchlight and Peter Chernin’s Chernin Entertainment are developing a feature project that would chronicle the key moments in Tolkien’s life that shaped him and led him to write Hobbit, the classic children’s book, in 1937, and then, starting in 1954, his Rings trilogy.

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The project is in the development stage but has a script by David Gleeson, an Irish writer who sold the sci-fi spec End of History to Sony, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Tolkien led a fascinating life. He fought in World War I, where he saw countrysides torn to shreds and friends killed, and he was a code breaker in waiting during World War II. He was close friends with C.S. Lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia books, and the two made up part of an academic and writing group known as the Inklings.

Tolkien is already a protagonist in the YA novel Here There Be Dragons, which chronicles the fictional fantastical adventures of Tolkien, Lewis and fellow Inkling member Charles Williams that ultimately inspired their respective masterpieces. A movie adaptation was once set up at Warners with David Heyman producing.

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It is not clear if the Tolkien estate will be involved. The estate is very protective of all things Tolkien and has been occasionally vocal when displeased. But whether their blessing is needed is another matter.

Chernin exec David Ready is overseeing the project. Gleeson is repped by CAA and attorney Warren Dern.

The Los Angeles Times first broke the story.