The Guardian – Simon West to direct Tolkien & Lewis

Theological 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, 

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.

Theologise this … CS Lewis in 1963
Theologise this … CS Lewis in 1963

“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.” 

The popularity of films based on Tolkien’s work nevertheless suggests both biopics could find plenty of traction with audiences. Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy took more than $3bn (£1.7bn) across the globe, and the New Zealand film-maker’s current three-part adaptation of The Hobbit has so far taken almost $2bn (£1.16bn) with one film still to be released.

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The Telegraph – Two different Tolkien biopics will compete for audiences

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.”

Ben Travis

Entertainment Weekly – J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’ friendship will be the subject of a new film

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.

Jay Chams

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Book Wars and Friendship Subject of Film

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.

Corine Gatti

 

The Australian – Biopic on JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis in works

AN Australian producer is leading the battle to bring to screen the story of JRR Tolkien’s relationship with his University of Oxford colleague CS Lewis.

Attractive Films’ Wernher Pramschufer describes his coming feature film, Tolkien & Lewis, as “obviously one of the most extraordinary stories yet untold”.

Brisbane-based Pramschufer says he anticipates his production will begin filming in Britain in November with Con Air and The Expendables 2’s Simon West directing.

The film looks to capitalise on the enduring appeal of both writers, enhanced by recent successful cinema adaptations of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbitand Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series. Each of the recent five films adapted from Tolkien’s books by Peter Jackson have earned, on average, $US1 billion in box-office receipts alone.

Tolkien & Lewis, written by Australian Jacqueline Cook, explores how the devout Catholic Tolkien converted Lewis to Christianity, which permeated his books. The two later fell out as Lewis attained fame.

“It’s not an overtly Christian film as such but if you are (Christian), you will feel a great deal of warmth,” producer Pramschufer says. “They were two colossal intellects with a great grasp of English and fantasy who were close but became very distant because of their rivalry.”

The dual British-Australian national says the film will be made in Britain. “It is a British film as such but it has been developed and produced in Australia,” he says. “And this comes from the idea of taking Australian cinema to the world. we want to make films that have global appeal rather than just be in the cinemas for one day.”

Mark Blaney

InsideMovies – Tolkien & Lewis

InsideMovies report British fantasy literature has two towering figures: J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. The two were longtime friends, and now their relationship will be the subject of a new movieTolkien & Lewis, an $18 million drama, will be produced by UK-based production outfit Attractive Films and directed by Simon West, known for The Expendables 2Con Air.

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.

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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