Fox Searchlight has released the first official trailer for Tolkien, though at only 55 seconds long, it feels more like a teaser. The biopic will tell the story of J. R. R. Tolkien, the author behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy and all that goes with it, and presumably how his own time at war inspired the books that made him famous.
Nicholas Hoult will star as the literary icon, which adds to his already impressive resume, including Mad Max: Fury Road, Warm Bodies and the role of Hank McCoy in the newer X-Men films. Opposite Hoult will be Lilly Collins, who will play Edith Bratt, the woman Tolkien would eventually marry and father four children with. Collins is best known for her roles in The Blind Side, Mirror Mirror, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Okja, and also co-stars in the upcoming Ted Bundy biopic Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.
Tolkien died in 1973, but during the eight decades he was alive, he fought in World War I, spent decades as a professor at Oxford and created one of the greatest fantasy epics of all-time with his Middle-earth saga. Not only did he write The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Silmarillion, but a lot of supplemental material, as well, and he even created an entire language for the books. In fact, he was once approached about working as a codebreaker during World War II, though this ended up not being necessary. That being said, there is certainly no shortage of material for the filmmakers to draw from with this story.
Fox Searchlight’s synopsis for the film explains that it will focus on “the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school.” It goes on to talk about “the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the ‘fellowship’ apart.” We see glimpses of this fellowship in the trailer, and it’s easy to draw correlations between the four young men and a certain group of hobbits.
Directed by Dome Karukoski, Tolkien stars Nicholas Hoult, Lilly Collins, Colm Meaney, Anthony Boyle, Patrick Gibson, Tom Glynn-Carney, Craig Roberts, Laura Donnelly, Genevieve O’Reilly, Pam Ferris and Derek Jacobi, and is set to be released on May 10.