Though there’s only one instalment of The Hobbit film trilogy left to hit cinemas, it isn’t the last we’ll see of JRR Tolkien on the big screen. Two biopics, each covering different areas of the author’s life, are currently in production.
Tolkien is being developed by Chernin Entertainment for Fox Searchlight from a screenplay by David Gleeson, and will focus on his time at Oxford University and his experiences as a soldier during World War One.
Tolkien & Lewis, meanwhile, will have a more religious angle, focusing on the friendship and rivalry between the Lord of the Rings creator andNarnia writer CS Lewis. The two authors both taught at Oxford University, and Tolkien helped to convert the previously agnostic Lewis to Christianity. Religious themes became a major influence on Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, and the success and acknowledgement he received for his Christian writings strained the two writers’ friendship.
Tolkien & Lewis is a smaller, independent film with an $18 million budget, and is being produced by Attractive Films. Simon West, director of Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and The Expendables 2, has signed on to direct, with the film expected to arrive in Easter 2015.
Wernher Pramschufer, head of Attractive Films, said: “Lewis becoming the poster boy for Christianity upset Tolkien. And obsessive genius Tolkien is blocked, terrified of finishing The Fellowship of the Ring, for fear of the strange, psychotic visions which torture him.”