Dueling J.R.R. Tolkien Biopics Are in Development

Tolkien biopics

This winter brings us the final installment of Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit trilogy, which means we’re done with trips to Middle-earth for the time being. (Well, at least until Warner Bros. figures out how to adapt The Silmarillion or deems it time to remake the Lord of the Rings series.) It does not, however, mean we’re done with J.R.R. Tolkien.

Two separate Tolkien biopics are in the works at the moment: the faith-based Tolkien & Lewis, which explores the fantasy author’s relationship with Narnia creator C.S. Lewis, and the more straightforward Tolkien, which is set up at Fox Searchlight. More details on both after the jump.

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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.

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Dying to set foot in Middle-earth, but don’t have the cash to shell out for a ticket to New Zealand’s Hobbiton? If a new rumor is to be believed, Universal Studios could be planning a new Middle-earth theme park that’d presumably be much closer to home for American fans. According to an anonymous source, Universal and Warner Bros. have approached the Tolkien estate about the possibility of building a new attraction, and Universal has gotten as far as presenting its ideas to the Tolkiens. Read more after the jump.

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It’s a sad fact for geeks that there’s still no way to actually become a hobbit or a wizard. But thanks to two new spots, we can at least pretend for a little while.

The King’s Cross station in London has opened a new souvenir shop at Platform 9 3/4, which Harry Potter fans know is where Hogwarts students catch the train to school. Meanwhile, Hobbiton in New Zealand has transformed the Green Dragon Inn set into a working pub. Read more and check out some photos and video after the jump.

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When The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is good, it’s really good. Throughout Peter Jackson‘s first film in the Hobbit trilogy, his camera sweeps through an epic battle, and Howard Shore’s score crescendos through the speakers as thirteen dwarves, one wizard and a hobbit fight for their lives. That’s what most audiences are paying to see, and the film provides that on a grand scale, again and again.

“Again and again” is also the film’s biggest issue. On a consistent basis, it’s almost as if Jackson forgets he has two more films to release and is forced to pump the brakes. Tangents pop out of nowhere, dialogue scenes are stretched into infinity, and a familiar structure of capture followed by rousing escape, is consistently repeated. Much of the film feels like it’s purposely attempting to stall the dwarves’ quest from progressing.

What we’re left with is a huge, beautiful piece of entertainment, the lows of which are slightly outweighed by its adrenaline pumping highs. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey works, but feels bloated, derived from the fact that it’s based on a child’s book, only stuffed and stretched beyond the bounds of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s original narrative.  Still, its flaws and fun work hand in hand to provide a suitably rousing first act to the Hobbit trilogy. Read More »

It’s the kind of topic that keeps geeks arguing late into the night: Which is more badass, Westeros or Middle-earth? Would Jaime Lannister win in a duel against Aragorn? Are Wargs scarier than direwolves? Could Gimli take on the Mountain?

Sadly, the odds of us ever finding out for certain are slim to none, since there’s unlikely to be a crossover special anytime soon. But as the creator of Game of Thrones (or A Song of Ice and Fire for you book nerds) and a longtime fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin seems as well equipped as anyone to offer some answers. Hit the jump to find out what he had to say.

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Just two weeks ago, the idea that Peter Jackson would split The Hobbit into three movies instead of two as originally planned seemed like wild, unfounded speculation. But then Jackson began floating the possibility at Comic-Con, negotiations with Warner Bros. picked up, and now Jackson has confirmed that it’s official: The Hobbit will be a trilogy.

The details are still being hammered out, so there’s a lot that even the folks involved aren’t sure of at this point. However, we do have an inkling of what the title and timetable might be. Jackson is reportedly eyeing a summer 2014 release date for the third movie, though an exact date has not been announced. As for the title, domain registrations suggest The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: Riddles in the Dark as potential names. Read more after the jump.

UPDATE: Jackson has taken to Facebook to post his own statement about the decision to split The Hobbit into three films, while the studio has issued a new press release. Read Jackson’s comment after the jump.

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Much in the way that Lionsgate teased out Hunger Games casting for weeks, steadily releasing small pieces of info over time, Warner Bros. seems to be revealing first looks at the characters from The Hobbit bit by little tiny bit. We’ve already gotten eyefuls of Dori, Nori & Ori, Oin and Gloin, and Fili and Kili. Today comes our first look at the dwarves Bofur, Bombur and Bifur, played by James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter and William Kircher, as they will appear in Peter Jackson‘s adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien novel. Check out the full photo after the jump.

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