Friday, November 11, 2016

Another Tolkien BioPic Project

So, thanks to a posting on the MythSoc list  (thanks Douglas), we now know about yet another Tolkien-related film project in the works-- if by 'in the works' we mean is a hopeful spark afloat on the vast sea of films-that-never-get-made.  I've maintained for a while now that we're not likely to see any SILMARILLION movies for a long, long time to come, if ever, and that the likeliest Next Big Thing in the way of Tolkien films would be a biopic. Here's the link:

This announcement is mostly about the writer/director/producers and doesn't provide much in the way of information about the film itself. The following snippet seems to be about all we know at this point about the plot:

"Story follows Tolkien’s early life and love affair with Edith Bratt, whom he later married. The couple lived happily in Oxford, surrounded by friends, but when war broke out in 1914 Tolkien embarked on four years of battle and hardship, an experience that influenced his Middle Earth stories."

This of course bears only a passing similarity to reality, and while we shdn't judge too strictly from an offhand account like this, it suggests that this will be a work of fiction. If we're lucky some historical and biographical fact will find its way into the film, but I wdn't count on it. It'll probably be very pretty, though, given the BBC-style talent involved: I suspect it aspires to be a 'Merchant Ivory' type film.

Fletcher, the author, seems to be full of projects currently in the works but little that's actually come out yet. The piece mentions his having devoted six years to researching the film and interviewing people: presumably this would be Tolkien biographers such as John Garth (given that Tolkien's main biographer, Humphrey Carpenter, has been dead for over a decade now).

Strong, the director, has worked on a number of well-regarded British shows, from DOWNTON ABBEY to DOCTOR WHO.

Shaye and Lynne famously committed New Line to supporting Peter Jackson's LotR films. Though with a projected budget of twenty million dollars we shd see much less here in the way of special effects. And just in case anyone was wondering, no Sir Peter in sight.

As for the second piece, it reveals a lot more of the mindset with which Fletcher intends to approach the project: Tolkien with PTSD (post-traumatic stress) -- or, as they used to call it in Tolkien's time, shell-shock (which, by the way, Tolkien never had: the record is pretty  clear about that). Note that while the first article concentrates on the John Ronald/Edith love story against a background of war, the second (earlier) piece doesn't even mention her.

It'll be interesting to see what becomes of this project, if anything, and who winds up starring in it

Here's the link:

--John R.
current reading: THE GOLD VOLCANO by Jules Verne

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