The family of The Hobbit writer, J.R.R. Tolkien is making it clear that they do not support the upcoming biopic, Tolkien, which tells the story of the author’s early life as an orphan.
According to the Hollywood Reporter that actor Nicholas Hoult plays the writer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the movie due in theaters last month, but the Tolkien estate has released a statement to say that it does not support the project or its content.
The statement wishes to “make clear that they did not approve of, authorize or participate in the making” of the film which tells the story of Tolkien’s early years which allegedly provided the inspiration for his epic novels.
A Tolkien family representative confirms that they have not screened the movie, and so the statement was not a condemnation of a particular scene, or the use of an actor, but rather about the fact that they didn’t give their approval for this or any other project about the author’s life.
In addition to Hoult, Tolkien stars Lily Collins (as Tolkien’s wife, Edith Bratt), Colm Meaney, Derek Jacobi, Mimi Keene, and Pam Ferris in the movie which is scheduled to debut in theaters on May 10.
PageSix says they were told that the family values their privacy and doesn’t want fans to think that they are endorsing the biopic.
Fox Searchlight, the production company behind Tolkien, released their own statement in support of the film.
“We are so proud of Dome Karukoski’s film Tolkien which focuses on the early years of JRR Tolkien’s extraordinary life and does not depict subject matter from his novels. While we did not work with the Tolkien Estate on this project, the filmmaking team has the utmost respect and admiration for Mr. Tolkien and his phenomenal contribution to literature.”
People Magazine reports that the Tolkien estate has filed suit in the past, along with publisher HarperCollins against Warner Bros. in 2012 for infringement and breach of contract after the company released Lord of the Rings online slot machines and other digital merchandising.
The Tolkien estate also issued a cease and desist letter to a writer, Steve Hillard, who wrote a novel called Mirkwood: A Novel About JRR Tolkien, in which Tolkien himself was a character. A lawyer for the estate claimed that the novel “trivializes the name, personality and reputation of the late professor,” but the two parties later settled the matter out of court.