Nicholas Hoult defends Tolkien biopic after family’s criticism


Nicholas Hoult has defended his upcoming biopic of J.R.R. Tolkien after the late author’s family distanced themselves from it.
The Mad Max: Fury Road actor portrays The Lord of the Rings writer in the upcoming biographical drama Tolkien, which explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school.
Days before the film’s London premiere on Monday (April 29, 2019), the Tolkien family and estate issued a statement declaring that they didn’t endorse or approve of the project, and Hoult has now responded by defending the film on the red carpet.
“I think it’s been done very respectfully, as a fan. It’s a story that stands alone,” he told the Press Association. “Such a remarkable life – his relationships, what he endured in World War One. What inspired him, hopefully, it will inspire new audiences now.”
According to London’s Evening Standard, Hoult also said he believed Tolkien’s great-grandson was attending the premiere and hoped he would like the film, which he described as “respectful and honorable”.
Director Dome Karukoski added that before the premiere, none of Tolkien’s relatives had watched their film, and offered to talk it through with them.
“It is a labor of love. It is done with respect and admiration for the professor. It’s a dramatic, beautiful, cinematic tale. It feels odd that a storyteller wouldn’t want that on the screen,” he said. “I have offered to sit with the estate and talk and explain why some artistic choices have been made. It’s a tricky one, but I would just love to watch the film with them.”
Lily Collins, who portrays Tolkien’s partner Edith Bratt in the film, added that the author’s fans should know the man behind the books, which also include The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.
The original statement read, “The family and the Estate wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorize or participate in the making of this film… They do not endorse it or its content in any way.”
Tolkien hits cinemas from Friday.