There’s only so many bankable classic works of fiction out there for Hollywood to pillage and water down that lately they have turned their attention to making movies based on the mysterious and fantastical hidden truths about the authors themselves. Some of them are so hidden, they are just plain made up.
We’ve seen biopics of Beatrix Potter (Miss Potter) and Jane Austen (Becoming Jane) in recent years as romance movies, John Cusack has recently shot The Raven – a movie about the capturing serial killers exploits of Edgar Allen Poe and there’s even a screenplay out there for a detective film based on an amateur sleuth team of Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini!
In fact this week’s announcement that a movie based on the fictional adventures of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit author J.R.R. Tolkien isn’t even the first to have the idea! An early article for the site in 2006 had news of a proposed adaptation of the children’s book Here, There Be Dragons – a fictional tale that follows three young strangers in London during the First World War who stumble across a mythical atlas. They decide to travel to Archipelago of Dreams where they must fight off various creatures and dark forces which threaten both worlds. The three young strangers just happened to be J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams but as difficult a movie as that is to realise has meant it has so far gone unproduced, despite an ambitious IMDB release date of 2011 still listed.
Will this new movie far better?
The Hollywood Reporter says EMO Films (horrendously titled new outfit who are also working on a relaunch of the Tales From the Crypt series) have secured the rights to Mirkwood: A Novel About J.R.R. Tolkien, a fictionalised account of the author’s days as a code breaker in the Second World War. But it sounds like there is much more to it than that.
Full book description is vague but one that sounds like it has such huge scope;
Bold new author Steve Hillard’s wildly original debut, Mirkwood, re-invents J.R.R. Tolkien as a man haunted by the very myths he rewove into his famous works. As much literacy criticism as boisterous epic, this episodically-driven plot explores the blurred borderlands where ancient tales, lost heroines, and epic journeys are stalked by dim monsters that will not be still.
In 1970, Professor Tolkien makes a little-known visit to America—and sets in motion the stirring of dark and ancient powers embodied in a cache of ancient documents. Destinies are altered, legends become real, and two heroines must race for their lives in vastly different worlds.
The book was written by Steven Hillard who has endured many a legal battle with the Tolkien estate over the book (as they claimed it was basically a false biography) and eventually the book (which he claimed was a ‘literary criticism work’ was only able to be published with the tagline;
“This is a work of fiction which is neither endorsed nor connected with The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate or its publisher.”
I wonder if that will need to be in the credits of the proposed film as well?
This may not be the run-of-the-mill biopic of a young Tolkien who falls in love whilst writing about The Hobbit to keep him busy during his boring school lessons (you just know somebody is going to make that movie somewhere down the road) but boy does it sound much more interesting than that.
Has anyone read the novel? Could we get a more clear description of just what is planned here?
“The adaptation of Mirkwood will follow the template of the novel,” said Hillard, “but will delve considerably deeper into Tolkien’s little-known back story, such as his original plans to become a codebreaker in World War II up through the writing of his enduring works.”
This article was first posted on August 17, 2011