The family and estate of J.R.R. Tolkien have come out against Tolkien, a new biopic that depicts the early life of the Lord of the Rings creator. In a public statement, as per The Guardian, they said they “do not endorse it or its content in any way.”
The drama, which will be released on May 10, stars Nicholas Hoult as the young author, showing him shaped by the trauma of World War I, and by his love for Edith Bratt (Lily Collins), the inspiration for several of the female characters of Middle-earth.
The surviving Tolkiens aren’t having it. “The family and the [Tolkien] Estate wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorize or participate in the making of this film,” their statement reads. They didn’t go into specifics, but a spokesperson for the estate said there are no plans to take legal action; they simply want it known they do not approve of the film that bears his name.
John Garth, who wrote the biography Tolkien and the Great War, told The Guardian that the estate’s response was “sensible.”
Biopics typically take considerable licence with the facts, and this one is no exception. Endorsement by the Tolkien family would lend credibility to any divergences and distortions. That would be a disservice to history … As a biographer, I expect I’ll be busy correcting new misconceptions arising from the movie. I hope that anyone who enjoys the film and is interested in Tolkien’s formative years will pick up a reliable biography.
Tolkien’s estate has been famously litigious, suing the producers of the Lord of the Rings films over royalties in 2009 and going after the book Mirkwood: A Novel About JRR Tolkien, despite it being a work of fiction. They’ve also taken legal action against gambling games that boast Lord of the Rings characters. Moreover, Peter Jackson has said further Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films are unlikely because they would require the estate’s cooperation.
(Via The Guardian)