Director found for J.R.R. Tolken biopic

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Jul 25, 2017

The life story of the man who gave us Middle-earth just took one step closer to the screen.

Variety reports that a director has been found for a biopic on J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, whose rich and complex tales of dwarves, elves and wizards changed the course of fantasy literature when they were published in the 1930s and 1940s.

The director is Finnish filmmaker Dome Karukoski, not exactly a household name around these parts but considered one of his home country's finest talents behind the camera. His seven feature film credits -- all hits in his native land -- include 2005’s Beauty and the Bastard, 2008’s The Home of Dark Butterflies, 2013’s Heart of a Lion, and this year’s Tom of Finland.

The Tolkien film has been in development since 2013 by Fox Searchlight, and the script reportedly focuses on Tolkien's school years, when he was first inspired to become a writer and when he fell in love with the woman who became his wife, leading up to his time in the British armed forces during World War I.

It was during those school years that he and a group of friends formed a secret society of sorts that cultivated Tolkien's dedication to writing poetry. His courtship of Edith Bratt -- to whom he was married for more than 50 years -- and some traveling that he also did at the time all seemingly inspired parts of the history of Middle-earth that forms the backbone of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

It has been suggested over the years that Tolkien's service during World War I, as well as his horror at the industrialization of Great Britain and the events of World War II, all influenced his vivid rendering of the war against Sauron and the wizard Saruman's destruction of the Shire in The Lord of the Rings.

It's not clear whether the movie will delve into the writing of either The Hobbit, which was penned in the early 1930s, or The Lord of the Rings, which Tolkien completed between 1937 and 1949, but hopefully it will provide a glimpse into the mind and heart of the person who created one of the most iconic and magnificent literary worlds of all time.

There's no word yet on casting or a start of production, but with a director now attached, we can probably expect more news soon.