Fresh off The Favourite, Nicholas Hoult is ready for another trip into British history. This time, he’s tackling the man who made Middle-earth.
Fox Searchlight announced Thursday that its upcoming biopic about author J.R.R. Tolkien — titled, simply, Tolkien — will hit theaters May 10, 2019. The film stars Hoult as Tolkien during his formative years. Long before he wrote The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien was an orphan who found friendship, love, and artistic inspiration among his group of school friends in the years before World War I. It was there, in the trenches of France and the battlefields of the Somme, that Tolkien experienced both the horror and solidarity of war firsthand. Seeing men of different backgrounds fight and die together was an inspiration for the Fellowship of the Ring — as was Tolkien’s original group of friends, many of whom died in the Great War.
Tolkien is directed by Dome Karukoski and written by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford. In addition to Hoult, the cast includes Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Anthony Boyle, Patrick Gibson, Tom Glynn-Carney, Craig Roberts, Laura Donnelly, Genevieve O’Reilly, Pam Ferris, and Derek Jacobi.
Collins plays Tolkien’s beloved wife, Edith, who also had a large impact on the Middle-Earth stories. Viewers of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film adaptations likely remember the star-crossed romance between the human Aragorn and the elf Arwen. Within the context of Tolkien’s legendarium, the Aragorn-Arwen romance is a successor to the one between the human Beren and the elf Lúthien in The Silmarillion. The inspiration for these great romances came directly from Tolkien’s real-life relationship with Edith. To this day, their shared gravestone calls him “Beren,” while Edith is “Lúthien.”