Fox Searchlight Developing a J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic

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Warner Bros. is the lucky studio behind three Lord of Rings movies and another three Hobbit films, but Fox Searchlight will be the one who finally brings the genius behind those fantasy epics to the big screen. And no, I don’t mean Peter Jackson.

The studio has just set David Gleeson to script a biopic of author J.R.R. Tolkien, which for now is simply being called Tolkien. Peter Chernin (The Heat) will produce. Hit the jump for more details on the project.

The LA Times reported on the new project. Gleeson is an Irish filmmaker known mainly for indies like Cowboys & Angels and The Front Line, but he seems to know his way around Middle-earth. The publication also describes him as “a Tolkien superfan and scholar of sorts.”

Tolkien was born in South Africa in 1892, and moved to England as a small child following the death of his father. As a young adult, he received a degree from Exeter College at the University of Oxford and served in World War I. After the war, he got a job as a professor at Pembroke College. It was while there that he wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Gleeson’s script will focus mainly on Tolkien’s experiences in World War I and Pembroke College, examining the way the author’s real life shaped his fictional works.

While Tolkien isn’t the first attempt to tell the writer’s story, there has been no major biopic of him so far. One recent try was Mirkwood, based on Steve Hillard’s fanciful novel about Tolkien’s codebreaking work during World War II, but not much progress seems to have been made. It is unclear at this time whether the Tolkien estate will work with Gleeson on his movie.

Do you want to see a movie about Tolkien? Who do you think should play the famed author? (For reference, the real-life Tolkien looked like this.)

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