J.R.R. Tolkien's invented lives — of Frodo, Bilbo, Smaug, Sauron, and many more — have already spawned six movies. Now the man's real life is set to provide the basis for another. The LA Times reports that a script for a project tentatively titled Tolkien is currently being written that focuses on the author of The Hobbit's early years at Oxford University's Pembroke College, his time as a soldier in World War I, and how those experiences affected his character and his work.
The script for the Fox Searchlight project is being written by Tolkien "superfan" David Gleeson, whose credits include screenwriter on Irish movies Cowboys & Angels and The Front Line. Gleeson has an eventful life to pick through: Tolkien lived through both World Wars, serving as a signals officer during World War I, and training as a codebreaker in Britain's Bletchley Park during World War II before crafting the world of Middle-earth and populating it with elves, orcs, and dwarves.
Tolkien served as a signals officer in the First World War, and trained as a codebreaker in the Second
The planned project is the latest in a line of failed attempts to turn Tolkien's life into a movie. Mirkwood — a novel that fictionalized the author's time working as a codebreaker during World War II — was set to become a film in 2011, but production stalled after struggles with Tolkien's famously private estate. The LA Times says it's unsure whether the author's family has signed off on this new project, but unlike the make-believe Mirkwood, a more factual study of the man's life might have a better shot at reaching western shores.