Tolkien Estate Distances Itself From New Biopic

Director Dome Karukoski’s Tolkien has been met with a public statement from the Tolkien family and estate who wish to make it clear they do not endorse it in any way. It’s set for a May 3 theatrical release.


A new biopic about the life of The Lord of the Rings creator J. R. R. Tolkien has been met, prior to its May 3 theatrical release, with a public statement from the Tolkien family and estate. In the announcement, they wish to make it clear the film does not earn the family or estate’s approval and that its content is not endorsed by them in any way.

It’s an interesting move to make and one that will probably give the film a marketing boost ahead of its release during an Avengers: Endgame-dominated box office. Of course, helping Tolkien to be a commercial success is far from the family’s mind who appear determined to distance themselves from Dome Karukoski’s biopic.

The film, which focuses on Tolkien’s early life, stars Nicholas Hoult as the man who famously authored The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. The story features his relationship with Edith Bratt as well as the impact of World War 1.

Also starring Lily Collins, Colm Meaney and Derek Jacobi, the film has perhaps unsurprisingly earned the wrath of the family prior to its release given similar derision towards Peter Jackson’s adaptations of The Lord of the Rings.

Christopher Tolkien, the third son of the world renowned author, has worked tirelessly to prevent his father’s work from being, as he sees it, dumbed-down for commercial pop culture. He successfully stopped Warner Bros. making Lord of the Rings slots machines and is believed to have stopped an amusement park being developed.

He has also had strong words for Peter Jackson. In an interview with Le Monde, he said the New Zealand director had “eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25.”

“Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time. The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me.

“The commercialisation has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.”

The statement from the Tolkien family and the Tolkien Estate makes it very clear what its sentiments about the new film are. “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 is released in UK cinemas on May 3, US cinemas on May 10, and other territories in May, June and July.

Dan Stephens
About the Author
Dan Stephens is the founder and editor of Top 10 Films. He's usually pondering his next list, often inspired by his adoration for 1980s Hollywood, a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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