8:43am PT by Gregg Kilday
Author Steve Hillard Developing Screen Version of his JRR Tolkien Novel 'Mirkwood' with EMO Films (Exclusive)
Author Steve Hillard has signed a deal with EMO Films to develop and secure financing for a film version of his novel Mirkwood, which centers around a fictional version of The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien.
Emo’s Joel Eisenberg and Timothy Owens will executive produce the project.
"The adaptation of Mirkwood will follow the template of the novel," said Hillard, "but will delve considerably deeper into Tolkien's little-known back story, such as his original plans to become a codebreaker in World War II up through the writing of his enduring works."
Hillard was involved in a dispute with the Tolkien estate earlier this year.
In February, he went to the U.S. District Court in Texas seeking a declaration that he had a First Amendment right to publish Mirkwood, A Novel About J.R.R. Tolkien against the estate's claims that such a book would infringe upon Tolkien's name and likeness. The parties agreed on a plan that would allow the book to come out without further litigation.\
After the Tolkien estate learned of the book, it had sent Hilliard a cease-and-desist letter, threatening a lawsuit if he didn't cease publishing the novel and destroy all copies.
According to the settlement, the book, which the author defended as a work of literary criticism, could be released with a modified reference to Tolkien on its cover along with a disclaimer, "This is a work of fiction which is neither endorsed nor connected with The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate or its publisher." As a result of the settlement, Hillard dismissed his lawsuit.
EMO is also involved ina new TV series based on EC Comics’ Tales from the Crypt.