#RIP: we are saddened to report the passing of British actor Sir Ian Holm at the age of 88. He played old Bilbo Baggins in #TheHobbit film saga (#AnUnexpectedJourney & #TheBattleOfTheFiveArmies) and #TheLordOfTheRings film saga (#TheFellowshipOfTheRing & #TheReturnOfTheKing); Father Vito Cornelius in #TheFifthElement; Napoleon in #TimeBandits; Ash in #Alien; Terry Rapson in #TheDayAfterTomorrow; Jonas Muller (voice) in #Renaissance; Skinner (voice) in #Ratatouille; Sirius / Boris / the Devil in #SimonMagus; Naville in #ALifeLessOrdinary; Walter Bailiff in #LochNess; Pod in #TheBorrowers (miniseries); Dr. Murnau in #Kafka; Reverend Charles L. Dodgson / Lewis Carroll in #Dreamchild; Mr. Kurtzmann in #Brazil; Puck in #AMidsummerNightsDream; & more.
Our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.
#RIP: author & illustrator Christopher John Reuel Tolkien has passed away at the age 95. Born on Nov. 21, 1924, he was the third & youngest son of the author J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), as well as the editor of much of his father’s posthumously published work. He drew the original maps for his father’s #TheLordOfTheRings books, which he signed as C.J.R.T.
From a child, Christopher Tolkien had long been part of the critical audience for his father’s fiction, such as listening to his father’s tales of Bilbo Baggins, which were published as #TheHobbit. As a teenager and young adult, he offered a lot of feedback on “The Lord of the Rings” during its 15-year development. He also had the task of interpreting his father’s sometimes self-contradictory maps of Middle-earth in order to produce the versions that were used in the books. He re-drew the main map in the late 1970’s to clarify the lettering and correct some errors and omissions.
J.R.R. Tolkien had written a large amount of material connected to the Middle-earth legendarium that was not published during his lifetime. He had originally intended to publish #TheSilmarillion along with “The Lord of the Rings”, and parts of it were in a finished state when he died in 1973; but the project was incomplete.
Once referring to his son Christopher as his “chief critic and collaborator”, J.R.R. Tolkien had named Christopher his literary executor in his will. With this authority, Christopher organized the masses of his father’s unpublished writings, some of which had been written on odd scraps of paper a half-century earlier. Much of the material was handwritten. Complicating matters, his father would sometimes write a newer draft over a half-erased first draft. Also, it was not uncommon for the names of characters routinely changing between the beginning and ending of the same draft.
Christopher worked on the manuscripts and was able to produce an edition of “The Silmarillion” for publication in 1977. His assistant for part of the work was Guy Gavriel Kay, who became a noted fantasy author himself.
“The Silmarillion” was followed by “Unfinished Tales” in 1980 and “The History of Middle-earth” in 12 volumes between 1983 and 1996. Most of the original source-texts have been made public from which “The Silmarillion” was constructed.
In April 2007, Christopher Tolkien published “The Children of Húrin”, whose story his father had brought to a relatively complete stage between 1951 and 1957 before abandoning it. This was one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s earliest stories. Its first version dated back to 1918, and several versions were published in “The Silmarillion”, “Unfinished Tales”, and “The History of Middle-earth”.
“The Children of Húrin” is a synthesis of these and other sources. “Beren and Lúthien” is an editorial work and was published as a stand-alone book in 2017. The next year, “The Fall of Gondolin” was published also as an editorial work. “The Children of Húrin”, “Beren and Lúthien”, and “The Fall of Gondolin” make up the three “Great Tales” of the Elder Days, which J.R.R. Tolkien considered to be the biggest stories of the First Age.
Christopher served as chairman of the Tolkien Estate, Ltd., which was the entity formed to handle the business side of his father’s literary legacy. He also served as a trustee of the Tolkien Charitable Trust until his retirement in 2018.
In 2001, Christopher expressed doubts over “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy that was directed by Peter Jackson. He questioned the viability of a film interpretation that retained the essence of the work, but stressed that this was just his opinion. In 2008, he commenced legal proceedings against New Line Cinema, which he claimed owed his family £80 million in unpaid royalties. In September, 2009, he and New Line reached an undisclosed settlement. He also withdrew his legal objection to “The Hobbit” films. But, in a 2012 interview with “Le Monde”, he criticised the films saying, “They gutted the book, making an action film for 15 to 25-year-olds.”
Our condolences to Christopher’s family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.
The first still images from the upcoming #Tolkien biopic film have been released. They show Nicholas Hoult as the iconic #fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien. Born 1892 in South Africa, Tolkien was orphaned as a teen after his parents died. The film (directed by Dome Karukoski) will follow these formative years as he attends school in Birmingham and finds companionship with a group of outcasts.
The still images that were released offer snapshots from J.R.R. Tolkien’s life, including his younger years with future wife Edith (being played by actress Lily Collins) and the approach of World War I. The events of that war would come to impact Tolkien’s work with #TheHobbit, #TheLordOfTheRings, and #TheSilmarillion. For example, his war experience inspired The Fellowship of the Rings, and his relationship with Edith affected how he wrote the literary romance between Aragorn and Arwen.
Nicholas Hoult as J.R.R. Tolkien in “Tolkien”
Nicholas Hoult as J.R.R. Tolkien & Lily Collins as Edith Bratt in “Tolkien”
Nicholas Hoult as J.R.R. Tolkien (Right) with School Chums in “Tolkien”
Lily Collins (as Edith Bratt) & Nicholas Hoult (as J.R.R. Tolkien) in “Tolkien”
While it may be hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since the third and final #LordOfTheRings film was released in theaters, #Amazon is pouring tons of money into its new #LOTR series that will reportedly feature a younger Aragorn.
Actor Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy, has some advice for the actor to take on the younger version of the character:
“I would say, not only read the book, you know, very thoroughly, that giant book of Lord of the Rings, but you could read some of the Nordic sagas. You’ll get some clues there as to where Tolkien got his information. Like, Sigurd the Dragon Slayer, and the Volsunga saga. Read that.”
Mortensen also recommends watching Kurosawa films. Mortensen also discussed his unusual preparation for the films, for which he only had hours after replacing the original actor for the role:
“Lord of the Rings was a case where I replaced an actor and they were already filming – not only filming, but they’d been rehearsing for months and learning all these skills they had to have for those movies – language skills, invented the Elvish, and swordplay, and horse riding, all this stuff. And I was kind of freaked out because I said yeah and I’m on the plane, on this 13 hour plane flight, and I’m looking at the book, which I had never read. But as I started looking at it, I was like, ‘Well, there’s something.’ There’s always something that you can draw on. I had read or been read to as a kid, stories about Vikings and Nordic sagas and stuff, and there was something there that was familiar, but it was still – you know, fortunately when I started doing that shoot it was physical stuff, not dialogue. So it was like sword fighting, so I could get my feet wet with that before I actually had to start speaking. It’s not ideal, but it seemed – my son was really into me doing it, and he was 11 at the time, and that kind of pushed me over the edge to say, ‘Yeah, okay.’ And obviously I’m glad I did it. It opened a lot of doors for me, and we had a lot of fun making those three movies. But it’s not ideal. I sometimes have said no because I’m not gonna be able to do justice to it.”