LONDON – “Tolkien” attempts to tap into and understand the extraordinary mind of the English writer who created the iconic mythologies behind “The Lord of the Rings,” and “The Hobbit,” the movie’s director told EFE on Wednesday.
The movie, directed by Finish moviemaker Dome Karukoski, tells the story of a young orphaned John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) who finds solace and inspiration in a group of fellow loners, something Karukoski immediately connected with through his own experiences.
“I started reading his books at the age of 12 and 13 and I was growing without a father at that time, I was bullied, I was a loner, I was an outsider and then those stories became friends,” the director told EFE.
“So his stories inspired me to create my own stories, that was very deep rooted in me,” he added. “So there were so many things there that I connected with, and at the same time me being a fan of his works it allowed me to portray how I see his world.”
The story centers around World War I and plays on an idea the director considers intrinsic to Tolkien’s mythologies, that of the worlds of innocent souls on the cusp of turmoil.
Within this setting, Tolkien (played by Nicholas Hoult) meets the love of his life, Edith Bratt (Lilly Collins), and all these experiences combined tell the story of how the writer was inspired to later create his epic novels.
“It was incredible because I loved his work and I was a fan but I realized I knew very little about him,” Hoult said.
“Going in there and learning about those relationships and his experiences in World War I and his love of language, I didn’t realize that these worlds stem from him wanting to create languages,” Hoult continued.
For Tolkien, language was everywhere, Karukoski said.
Both Hoult and Collins became aware of how very little they knew of the man.
“I feel bad that I hadn’t considered the man behind the legend as much as I should have because I’m someone that does really like to know the story behind the story, and especially finding out that there was an Edith, who inspired a lot of the story as well,” Collins said.
Tolkien and Bratt’s love story is not well known but she was a key person in his life with a marriage that lasted 55 years and saw them have four children.
When asked what Tolkien fans could expect, Hoult said “An Easter egg hunt.”
“There are moments in here for superfans who will see images or hear words, or even just Edith’s dancing in the woods which are very much a part of the stories that everyone loves,” added Collins, the daughter of musician Phil Collins.
“It’s not a film about the books but it’s a film about his imagination,” the director mused.
“It is done with respect, it’s done with admiration, it’s done without demonizing him, it’s done with love,” Karukoski concluded.
“Tolkien” hits big screens worldwide on Friday, June 14.