'Tolkien' Featurette: How The Biopic Goes Early Into Tolkien's Life And Back Again

So much is known about the rich world of Middle-earth that author J.R.R. Tolkien created, but little popular thought is given to his life before he wrote The Lord of the Rings. That will soon change with the upcoming Fox Searchlight biopic, Tolkien, which shows the early days of the legendary British author from his childhood through the publication of The Hobbit and his magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings. But what went into the choice of this time frame — of showing young, hot Tolkien other than an excuse to use that tagline? A new Tolkien featurette explains why the biopic covers the early years of a young J.R.R. Tolkien.

Tolkien Featurette

Nicholas Hoult stars as the college-aged Tolkien, who in his days at Oxford decides to form a "fellowship with his friends. But even the star admits that he "didn't know much about Tolkien's life" before he signed on to the film. "I was aware of his work, I'm a big fan of it," Hoult said in the featurette, "so to see everything that happened to him in his life, his experiences, his relationships, and how that influenced him as a writer, it was just magical."

Tolkien's experiences were the prime inspiration for his fantastical stories set in Middle-earth, with his experiences in World War II informing the bleak outcomes at the end of The Lord of the Rings, and his romance with his wife Edith forming the foundation for the love story of Beren and Lúthien in The Silmarillion.

"We chose this time frame, us showing Tolkien's younger life, because so much happened that grew and made Tolkien who he is," director Dome Karukoski said, describing the sometimes tragic, sometimes triumphant events of Tolkien's life including the death of his parents, the war, and the meeting of his wife. "All that can be told in a very cinematic way," Krukoski concluded.

Tolkien is based on a screenplay by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford and also stars Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, and Derek Jacobi.

Here is the official synopsis for Tolkien:

TOLKIEN explores the formative years of the renowned author's life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school. Their brotherhood strengthens as they grow up and weather love and loss together, including Tolkien's tumultuous courtship of his beloved Edith Bratt, until the outbreak of the First World War which threatens to tear their fellowship apart. All of these experiences would later inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-earth novels.

Tolkien hits theaters on May 10, 2019.