Hollywood Reporter – JRR Tolkien biopic secures Expendables 2 director

Tolkien & Lewis will focus on relationship between Hobbit author and CS Lewis and is set for Easter 2015 release date to target faith audience,

The life of Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien is to be the subject of two competing biopics, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Twentieth Century Fox offshoot Fox Searchlight announced plans for Tolkien, which is set to focus on the writer’s academic career and experiences during the first world war. Now a smaller independent movie, Tolkien & Lewis, will focus on his friendship with CS Lewis, author of the Narnia books. The Expendables 2’s Simon West will direct a movie that aims to target lucrative faith-based US audiences via an Easter release date.

Tolkien, a devout Catholic, was instrumental in re-introducing his previously agnostic friend to Christianity while the pair were academics at Oxford, prior to the second world war. But the pair later fell out over religious differences, as Lewis’s fame grew in theological circles.

“Lewis becoming the poster boy for Christianity upset Tolkien,” Wernher Pramschufer, of Tolkien & Lewis production company Attractive Films told the Hollywood Reporter. “And obsessive genius Tolkien is blocked, terrified of finishing The Fellowship of the Ring, for fear of the strange, psychotic visions which torture him.”

Fox Searchlight’s rival Tolkien biopic, from writer and Tolkien “superfan” David Gleeson, appears to be covering some similar territory. The LA Times said last year that the film would examine the writer’s academic career at Pembroke College, Oxford, as well as his struggles as a second lieutenant and later signals officer on the western front of the first world war, showing how these experiences informed Tolkien’s creation of the high fantasy genre.

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