‘Tolkien’: release date, trailer, cast, and everything we know so far

The man behind 'The Hobbit' and 'Lord Of The Rings' gets his own biopic

We all know J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories of elves and hobbits, but how much do we know about the writer himself? His life, or at least part of it, will be the focus of a new biopic, Tolkien, later this year, over 80 years since his first book The Hobbit was published.

When’s it out?

You’ll be able to get to know the legendary author a bit better from May 3 in the UK and May 10 in the US.

What’s it about?

As the title suggests, this biopic is all about Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit writer J.R.R. Tolkien. While it doesn’t cover his entire life, it does promise to give us insight into his school days, his experiences during World War I, and, crucially, how he came to create the world of Middle-Earth.

Wasn’t there another Tolkien biopic a few years ago?

Kind of. Mirkwood, which was planned to focus on his life as a codebreaker during WWII, never got made after his estate refused to give it their blessing. So this movie will be the first about the author to be completed and released.

Have we seen any photos yet?

Yes – a handful of stills from the movie were released in January, giving us a first look at Hoult as Tolkien. In one, he is seen sitting on his desk, with maps, drawings, and what looks like the alphabet from an Elvish language hung on the wall behind him.

Is there a trailer?

There is. It intersperses clips of Tolkien in different stages of his life with fiery battle scenes that could either be taken from his stories or from the war. “Tell me a story,” Edith is heard asking. “It’s a story about journeys – the journeys we take to prove ourselves,” Tolkien replies. “It’s about adventures. It’s about potent magic, magic beyond anything anyone has felt before. It’s about what it means to love and to be loved. Of courage. It’s about fellowship.”

Who plays Tolkien?

Nicholas Hoult continues his string of big roles in the last few years by taking on the part of the celebrated author. It’s not his first time playing a writer – in 2017, he portrayed JD Salinger in Rebel In The Rye.

Who else is in it?

There’s no shortage of familiar names in Tolkien. Lily Collins will appear as Tolkien’s wife Edith Bratt and the inspiration behind LOTR character Arwen. Star Trek’s Colm Meaney will play Father Francis Xavier Morgan, who the author cited as an influential figure on his life, and Craig Roberts takes on the role of Tolkien’s close friend Sam. Elsewhere, the likes of Pam Ferris (Matilda, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban), Derek Jacobi (Gladiator, Gosford Park), Star Wars’ Genevieve O’Reilly, and Derry Girls’ Anthony Boyle will also star in the film.

Who’s directing it?

Dome Karukoski takes the reins on Tolkien for what is his biggest project yet. He will be working from a script written by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford, who’ve previously worked on the likes of Don’t Go and Pride respectively. 

Are there any other Tolkien-related projects coming up?

If having six Peter Jackson-directed movies adapting both Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit into epic trilogies wasn’t enough for you, there is another visual LOTR fest on the way. Amazon are currently working on a TV series based on the books. Not much is known about what exactly that will be like – the writers’ room is apparently under tight security – but the studio has hinted it could take the form of a prequel to the original trilogy.