Attractive describes the movie as “a drama fantasy set in war torn Britain in 1941 revealing the faith, friendship, and rivalry between J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.”
The two writers had a lot in common: Both taught at Oxford, both fought in World War I, and both preferred not to spell out their names. Their relationship was friendly for years, but turned famously fraught. Through late-night conversations, Tolkien, a religious Catholic, convinced Lewis to return to the faith; Lewis’ writing took off afterward, and he’s now best known for his books that are instilled with Christian themes, like the Narnia series and The Screwtape Letters. But Lewis then became a much-criticized unofficial spokesman for Christianity, which strained his relationship with Tolkien and Oxford. And while Tolkien struggled over the Lord of the Rings manuscripts for years, Lewis’ Narnia books were bestsellers.
UK-based Attraction Films will produce a drama on the odd and turbulent relationship between authors C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien set in Britain during and after World War I.
Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, and Tolkien penned The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, all a smashing success. At a deeper level both men needed each other for these works. Lewis faltered in his faith, and Tolkien, a devote Catholic, helped lead Lewis back to God.
“Very few people knew that Tolkien and Lewis were friends and without the friendship, Lewis would have never become a Christian and become the world’s greatest Christian apologist.”
Tolkien, who struggled to write The Lord of the Rings, might have never written his book without an audience of one, Lewis. Tolkien never believed his work was good enough, said Pramschufer, and the film exposes their struggles.
“They both had human failings, like we all do. We show them in a very human and compassionate way. We’re not trying to deify them or pull them down or Hollywoodize them. We’re just trying to make this story as real as possible.”
Three years of research went into building the story. Information available from the public domain was used, not from any other published biography, Pramschufer explained.
“We took a timeline from when they were first born, through when they passed away and we noted every notable achievement. We plotted the two timelines together to see where interesting things coincided. Where we found the maximum interest in the story is when the two men were both writing their books and it became in a way—book wars.”
Directed by Simon West of The Expendables 2, the film will be released in 2015.
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.