The celebrated fantasy author’s family released a statement, obtained by SYFY WIRE, in which they "wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorize or participate in the making of this film," which stars Nicholas Hoult in the titular role. "They do not endorse it or its content in any way," the statement also said.
Directed by Finnish filmmaker Dome Karukoski (The Grump), Tolkien explains how the writer's experiences with his friends and fighting in World War I led to his creation of one of the greatest literary mythoses in the history of the medium. Fox Searchlight released its own statement, emphasizing its confidence in the finished product.
“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," reads the statement. "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.”
Themes of trust, adventure, danger, wonder, and bonding all pervade the historical movie. In addition, morphology (aka the construction of language) plays an important role, as Tolkien created an entirely new mode of speaking for Middle-earth in the form of Elvish.
“I think it’s why these worlds are so rich, because of his knowledge of history and language, and his love of it,” Hoult told EW last week. “When I was a kid reading these books, you’d see the name of a place or character and you’d just think it was a funny-sounding word, and that would be it. But then you go back and you see that, oh, this name comes from the Old English for this and relates to that.”
Lily Collins (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile) stars alongside Hoult as Edith Bratt, Tolkien's love interest and eventual wife.
“Nicholas and I get along so well,” Collins also said to EW. “He’s infectious and wonderful and passionate; he’s all those things that I think are so important to play Tolkien. The scenes were so beautifully written, and Dome wanted us to just take the words and run with it, which is very much what Tolkien did. He created these languages and these worlds, and then left it to interpretation for everyone to disappear into their own heads. Nicholas and I did the same thing with the characters in the script.”
Colm Meaney, Derek Jacobi, Mimi Keene, and Pam Ferris are also a part of the cast.
Tolkien journeys into theaters May 10.