Tolkien's Estate Says It Doesn't Approve Of Biopic About Lord Of The Rings Author, Studio Responds

The author's estate is distancing itself from the soon-to-release movie starring Nicholas Hoult.

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The Tolkien Estate, which manages the Lord of the Rings author's works, has come out with a statement that seeks to distance itself from Fox's new movie starring Nicholas Hoult. The estate released a statement this week where it said it does not "endorse it or its content in any way," according to The Guardian.

The estate further noted that it "wish[es] to make clear that they did not approve of, authorise, or participate in the making of this film," adding that "they do not endorse it or its content in any way."

A representative for the estate told The Guardian that issuing this statement is not the first step in pursuing legal action, but instead to let viewers know what the estate's position is.

The new movie, which is called Tolkien, tells the story of the author's upbringing, including his time at school, his bond with Edith Bratt, and his time serving in World War I as a backdrop to how these experiences shaped his acclaimed fantasy novels.

Here is the full statement, as obtained by io9.

"The family of JRR Tolkien and the Tolkien Estate are aware of the Fox Searchlight motion picture entitled Tolkien that is due for release in May 2019. The family and the Estate wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorise, or participate in the making of this film. They do not endorse it or its content in any way."

Tolkien's son, Christopher Tolkien, told French newspaper Le Monde in 2012 that "the commercialisation [of Tolkien's work] has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing."

In response, Fox Searchlight said in a statement, "We are so proud of Dome Karukoski’s film Tolkien which focuses on the early years of J.R.R. 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."

The estate has been involved in various lawsuits over the years related to Lord of the Rings properties, leading some to believe no more officially endorsed films or shows based on Tolkien or his creations would happen. But in 2018, Amazon and the Tolkien estate announced an agreement to make a Lord of the Rings TV show. Amazon reportedly paid $250 million for the rights alone to do so.

Tolkien hits theatres on May 10. It's directed by Dome Karukoski (Heart of Finland), based on script from David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford.

Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men series) plays the adult Tolkien, while Lily Collins (To The Bone, Stuck In Love) plays Tolkien's wife, Edith Bratt.

Middle-earth Enterprises, which is the rights-owner of Tolkien's work, continues to reach new deals. Just this year, it was announced that Daedalic Entertainment is making a Lord of the Rings game about Gollum. Additionally, Electronic Arts remains a Lord of the Rings licensee, as does WB Games and Lord of the Rings Online developer Standing Stone Games.

*Updated to ass Fox Searchlight's statement on the matter.

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