Here is where I will post any important snippets of Tolkien-related news or other fascinating related information. Stay up-to-date on site updates and Tolkien news by subscribing to my RSS Feed (on left, below site navigation).
Tolkien scholar and friend Mike Foster will be presenting a discussion on "JRR Tolkien & The Languages of his Legendarium" on Monday, November 29th at 7 PM in the Prucha Archives Reading Room in Raynor Library (1355 W. Wisconsin Avenue) at Marquette University, Milwaukee.
Foster began his study of Marquette’s Tolkien manuscripts collection in 1977. He has been the Tolkien Society’s North American representative since 1995 and a voting member of the Mythopoeic Society’s Inklings scholarship committee since 2000. His essay “Teaching Tolkien” was published by the Marquette University Press in 2006. He retired as professor of English and journalism after 34 years at Illinois Central College in 2005.
This free lecture is sponsored by the Marquette Linguistics Club and the Library’s Department of Special Collections and Archives. Guests without Marquette University identification should register by noon on November 29 by telephoning (414) 288-7256.
I highly recommend that anyone nearby to Marquette attend. It is certain to be an entertaining and informative discussion of the effects of language on Tolkien's writings, creations, and life.
The Hobbit movie has been plagued by delay after delay over the past several years. The latest hit against the planned movie was announced today over at TheOneRing. Director Guillermo del Toro has officially announced that he will not be directing The Hobbit movie as originally planned.
This announcement comes amidst the delays in casting and planning that have resulted from the financial woes of mother-company MGM.
Lord of the Rings Director Peter Jackson remains at the helm as Executive Producer, and both he and del Toro announced a short time back that both scripts were nearly complete. Del Toro has assisted Jackson and LotR scriptwriters Philippa Boyens & Fran Walsh with the writing of the scripts.
According to Jackson's announcement, del Toro will stay on in New Zealand until the scripts are complete before departing.
Bookmark this page for more Hobbit movie updates as they become available.
Malcolm from ADC Books sent us an update on the annual Tolkien Art Exhibition in the UK. It is regularly held in early spring, and was originally scheduled to take place March 26-29, 2010.
Due to a scheduling conflict with the host site the Exhibition has been rescheduled for August 14-16, 2010. See more details in the official announcement below.
Now into its seventh year, our annual Art Exhibition is held at The Redesdale Hall, Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos, a wonderful Victorian building both on the outside and inside, making it an ideal location with free parking too. This year’s theme is “The Edge of the Wild” with Ted Nasmith’s wonderful image “Bilbo and the Eagles” leading the way and consisting of Original Artwork and Limited edition Prints from Tolkien artists: Ted Nasmith, Ruth Lacon, Jef Murray and Peter Pracownik. The artwork is displayed upstairs (there is a chair lift for disabled access) and completely fills the space – well decorated with flags and banners, with a showcase of historical Tolkien artifacts too.
It is a free-entry event, with nibbles, wine and hot and cold drinks. During the event you can meet the artists and listen to talks about their work. There is music , often live, a Tolkien Quiz and a Masquerade on the Sunday, and a large get together meal locally on the Saturday eve, followed by more songs!
Downstairs there is a range of dealers offering books, memorabilia, music, swords and clothing, candles, waistcoats, other talented Tolkien artists, bow-making, and at lunchtimes we are lucky to have the Eagles attend from the local Falconry.
The Exhibition is open to the public from 9-5 Sat 14th – Mon 16th Aug, with an Invite only Preview Party on the eve of Fri 13th Aug. Whether you visit for the day, or stay locally and attend it all, it is great fun, with many friends, and a chance to gaze for as long as you wish at the detailed work of our four
Tolkien artists, meet and talk with them, and to try your knowledge with a team in the quiz. Local Hotels and B&B's fill up quickly but there are also two nearby camp sites.
Often the event coincides with a new Tolkien book. Previously we have had Alan Lee signing his illustrated “Children of Hurin”; in 2009 we had the launch of our own publication: Black & White Ogre Country: The Lost Tales of Hilary Tolkien; and in 2010 it will coincide with the publication of our follow up
biography of Hilary Tolkien: Wheelbarrows at Dawn: Memories of Hilary Tolkien, with the authors, Angela Gardner & Neil Holford signing copies alongside Chris Tolkien, whose fond memories of his grandfather that led to the desire to publish these writings.
Reports on previous Exhibitions can be found on our website. Send Malcx your email address to be added to the Event List and Preview Party: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just to whet your appetite you can also look at our latest
online catalogue of artwork by our artists at ADC Books.
There are a couple of relevant Tolkien news items today.
The first deals with The Hobbit Movie. Sir Ian McKellen, who is reprising his role as Gandalf, had previously predicted that filming on the The Hobbit would begin in March of 2010.
According to several news sources that figure has been pushed back to summer at the earliest. Peter Jackson released a statement that the first script had been written, but the second was a work-in-progress, and that they had as yet received no "green-light" from the financially-troubled movie studio.
The two Hobbit films are tentatively slated for release in December 2011 & December 2012. The second bit of news involves the release of a new Tolkien fan-film, Born of Hope.
Born of Hope is a professional-quality fan film utilizing real actors, similar to The Hunt For Gollum released earlier this year.
Made on a small budget with a group of professional, volunteer actors & actresses. Born of Hope tells the story of Aragorn's birth and childhood.
Born of Hope can be viewed online for free at DailyMotion.
I received some distressing news yesterday about the death of British fantasy author Robert Holdstock. Mr. Holdstock apparently passed away yesterday at age 61 due to complications from an e. coli infection.
Robert Holdstock, for those unfamiliar with his work, is one of the greatest modern fantasy writers. His books Mythago Wood, Lavondyss, and the rest of the books centering on Ryhope Wood are modern classics and some of the most influential and important fantasy novels since Tolkien.
Lavondyss stands near the top of my personal list of favorite novels and contains some of the most achingly sublime passages of prose I've ever encountered. There are large ideas at work there - Jung's collective subconscious, Joseph Campbell's "monomyth".
At their best Holdstock's books stir something visceral and primal in the reader. An echo, perhaps, of our ancestor's connection with nature - of the green that runs through our own veins - and of mother nature's powerful, darker aspects.
I offer my condolences to Mr. Holdstock's friends and family and mourn for the loss of one of literature's true shining lights. By all accounts he was a wonderful person as well as a fantastic writer. His presence, through his books, will continue to be felt for many, many years.
Our friends at ADC Books sent us some information regarding next Spring's Tolkien Art Exhibition, which will take place at Moreton-in-Marsh in the UK, March 26-29, 2010. Details below:
Now into its seventh year, our annual Art Exhibition is held at The Redesdale Hall, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloustershire, a wonderful Victorian building both on the outside and inside, making it an ideal location with free parking too.
This year’s theme is “The Edge of the Wild” with Ted Nasmith’s wonderful image “Bilbo and the Eagles” leading the way and consisting of original artwork and limited edition prints from Tolkien artists: Ted Nasmith, Ruth Lacon, Jef Murray and Peter Pracownik.
The artwork is displayed upstairs (there is a chair lift for disabled access) and completely fills the space, well-decorated with flags and banners, with a showcase of historical Tolkien
artifacts as well.
It is a free-entry event, with nibbles, wine and hot and cold drinks. During the event you can meet the artists and listen to talks about their work. There is music, often live, a Tolkien Quiz and a Masquerade on the Sunday, and a large get together meal locally on the Saturday eve, followed by more songs!
Downstairs there is a range of dealers offering books, memorabilia, music, swords and clothing, candles, waistcoats, other talented Tolkien artists,
bow-making, and at lunchtimes we are lucky to have the Eagles attend from the local Falconry.
The Exhibition is open to the public from 9-5 Sat – Mon, with an Invite only Preview Party on the eve of Fri 26th. Whether you visit for the day, or stay
locally and attend it all, it is great fun, with many friends, and a chance to gaze for as long as you wish at the detailed work of our four Tolkien artists, meet and talk with them, and to try your knowledge with a team in the quiz.
Local hotels and B&B's fill up quickly but there are also two nearby camp
Often the event coincides with a new Tolkien book. Previously we have had Alan Lee signing his illustrated “Children of Hurin”; in 2009 we had the launch of our own publication: Black & White Ogre Country: The Lost Tales of Hilary Tolkien; and in 2010 it will coincide with the publication of our follow up biography of Hilary Tolkien: Wheelbarrows at Dawn: The Lost Box of Tolkien Memories, with the Editors, Angela Gardner & Neil Holford signing copies alongside Chris Tolkien, whose fond memories of his grandfather that led to the desire to publish these writings.
Reports on previous Exhibitions can be found on our website.
Send Malcx your email address to be added to the Event List and Preview Party at email@example.com.
Just to whet your appetite you can also look at our latest online catalogue of artwork by our artists at our ADC Books Website.
"When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton" (The Fellowship of the Ring, pg. 29).
Yesterday, September 21, also marks the 72nd anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, the book that first introduced Middle-earth to the public and launched Tolkien's career as a writer of fiction.
There is no better time than the present to dive back into some of the greatest literature of the last hundred years!
The lawsuit between the Tolkien Trust and New Line/Warner Bros. has been settled, allowing The Hobbit Movie to finally move ahead as planned. The details of the settlement are yet undisclosed and more details will be forthcoming when they are available. Having this roadblock out of the way should speed up the casting and final preparations for filming.
I've received an announcement from our friends over at ADC Art & Books that they have a new online catalog available at their website.
ADC Art & Books is a UK-based publisher, bookseller, and art promoter (amongst other things) specializing in Tolkien-related art and publications. They are also the worldwide agents for well-known Tolkien artists Ted Nasmith, Jef Murray, Ruth Lacon, and Peter Pracownik and have many original paintings, sketches, prints, and other collectibles available. The new catalog is an astounding 86-page collection of art, rare books, and original publications (such as Black and White Ogre Country by JRR Tolkien's brother Hilary Tolkien).
It is well worth a look.
The 2009 Mythopoeic Award winners were announced Sunday 7/19 at Mythcon 40 in Los Angeles. The Mythopoeic Awards are given annually in four categories - Adult Fantasy, Children's Fantasy, Inklings Studies, and Myth & Fantasy Studies. The winners were:
I can't personally opine on any of these except The History of the Hobbit, which I believe is one of the finest pieces of Tolkien scholarship available, and certainly a worthy recipient of the award.
It has been reported by a number of media outlets, most notably the British newspaper The Telegraph, that "Dr. Who" star David Tennant has been tipped to play Bilbo Baggins in the forthcoming The Hobbit film.
Rumors have also pointed at Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe as a possibility. James McAvoy, whose name has been mentioned in connection with the role for more than a year, is also believed to still be in the running.
A casting announcement is expected from Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro next week at Comic-con in San Diego. Hopefully that will put all speculation to rest.
It has been confirmed by a number of news sources that Hugo Weaving will reprise his role as Elrond in the upcoming Hobbit movie.
Weaving joins Lord of the Rings movie veterans Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and Andy Serkis (Gollum) as returning cast members for The Hobbit.
In a recent MTV interview, del Toro also disclosed that he is very close to making an announcement on the casting of the most pivotal role in The Hobbit movie, that of Bilbo Baggins. Keep an eye on this page for more Hobbit casting updates as soon as they become available.
A Los Angeles Superior Court issued an important ruling in the ongoing legal battle between the Tolkien Trust (run by the heirs of JRR Tolkien) and New Line Cinema over profits and owed monies from the Lord of the Rings movies.
New Line Cinema had argued that case should not go to jury trial. The judge in the case, Ann Jones, decided otherwise and declared that the case would proceed.
This is a small victory for the Tolkien Trust, who claims to be owed more than $200 million dollars from the profits of the Lord of the Rings films.
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun consists of two "lays" or epic poems, along with oodles of commentary and background by Christopher Tolkien.
For most modern readers, accustomed as we are to straightforward prose, it will be a new experience.
This story is old, and Tolkien revels in the brutal Northern beauty of it. Clash and battle and the beating of drums. It is likely you will find in it the echoes of Middle-earth.
Tomorrow (Sunday, May 3) will be the debut of the much-anticipated fan film, The Hunt for Gollum. The film will be available for free download online from Daily Motion beginning at 4:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time (11:00 AM US CST).
From Patricia at the Poetry Society of New Hampshire:
Due to the success of last year's Celebration of the Kalevala, the Poetry Society of New Hampshire will host a one day conference to mark the 160th anniversary of The Kalevala, titled "The Kalevala, from Myth to Marimekko", on Saturday April 4th, 2009 from 9AM to 6PM at the Rollins Estate of the Governor's Inn, 76 Wakefield Street, Rochester, NH.
Each of the presenters for the conference will explore aspects of the mythos of the Kalevala, its language, its reception and reinterpretation, the concept of shamanism, and its music.
The speakers are Dr. Börje Vähämäki, Professor of Finnish Studies at the University of Toronto, on "Language and Meaning in the Kalevala"; Diana Durham, poet and author, on "The Poet as Shaman"; and Dr. Clia Goodwin, comparatist in Medieval Literature, on "J. R. R. Tolkien and the Uses of Fantasy". (The latter two presentations are from the Humanities to Go catalog.)
Sarah Cummings Ridge will present a lecture-performance of songs of the Kalevala with her group, the Maine Kanteles. They accompany their songs with the kantele, a Finnish lap harp or zither, which has its mythic origin in the Kalevala. They will also be offering a hands-on workshop with the kantele.
Members of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire will provide short readings from Hiawatha and the Tolkien trilogy, to demonstrate the relationship in sound and theme to the Finnish epic.
This program is made possible by funding from the New Hampshire Humanities Council and our many partners: the Krasner Law Office; Holy Rosary Credit Union; Artstream Gallery; The Governor's Inn; the Rochester Opera House; Neil English, Joiner; and Marimekko North America, LLC.
The program is free and open to the public. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the PSNH at 31 Reservoir Road, Farmington, NH 03835.
I'm afraid I've been a tad lax in my Tolkien news reporting over the last couple of weeks.
The big news, of course, is in response to the news I reported last month about the publication announcement of Sigurd and Gudrún, a re-telling of the old Norse saga in verse by JRR Tolkien.
The original announcement was given by Harper Collins, Tolkien's UK publisher, that the book would be released in May. Houghton Mifflin, Tolkien's US publisher, has finally followed suit, announcing that it will simultaneously release the book in the US.
That's good news to all of us who weren't looking forward to paying the extra shipping costs.
In other news, Tolkien scholar Douglas A. Anderson's lecture at Bradley went off splendidly! Thank you to Bradley University Library and discussion moderator Mike Foster for a fun and educational evening.
The evening's discussion and Q&A session lasted from 7:30 to 9 PM, ranging from talk of Tolkien's difficult handwriting and the evolution of Middle-earth, to Ursula Le Guin and Robert Holdstock, two of Tolkien's worthy successors in the fantasy genre.
At least 125 people showed at Bradley Hall on a rainy February evening, including some from as far away as Ohio and Milwaukee.
PS - Check out some of Doug Anderson's books below. The Land of Laughs, by Jonathan Carroll, is one of Doug's highly suggested reads. Check it out too. I know I plan to.
An account of the evening with Douglas Anderson by Mike Foster:
ANNOTATING THE HOBBIT & OTHER LITERARY ADVENTURES, with Doug Anderson & me as moderator, drew at least 125 to Bradley Hall in Peoria Tuesday, Feb. 17.
One family drove over from Galesburg - about 90 miles - despite the cold & rain; there was one fellow from Notre Dame, Joe Kraemer from Cincinnati, Jan and Jeff Long from Milwaukee, David Berberick from Madison, as well as Graham Stockdale, Derek Hoover, and Linda Lowery from my Bradley JRRT class.
Doug and I discussed his books and Tolkien from 7:30 to 8:20 and the audience Q&A lasted till 9, bringing up discussion of other authors like E. A. Wyke-Smith, Robert Holdstock, C.S. Lewis, Ursula K. LeGuin, Peter S. Beagle et alia.
Doug then joined the Bradley bookstore guy outside Neumiller & sold and signed books till almost 9:30, when we adjourned to the Peoria Pizza Works for an after-party of 16 with Far Westfarthing smial, the Longs, Kraemer, and Doug at the head of the horseshoe table. Bass Ale & thin-crust pizza was involved. Can't remember the last time it was almost midnight when Jo & I got home from a date vs. almost 9.
Considering the downtown competition from BU vs. SMSU & LORD OF THE DANCE, it was a good turnout.
The Longs and David Berberick stopped by Foster's Farm for a semi-unexpected party of strong coffee and almond biscotti then next morning. All in all, a fine time.
Guillermo del Toro mentioned in an interview at MTV.com that casting and design has begun on the early stages of The Hobbit movie.
As has previously been speculated, he has confirmed that Hellboy creator Mike Mignola will be joining the team to help with visualization. He further mentioned in the article that "We are sketching and designing with Weta's John Howe, and [Adam Lee]" (MTV.com), by which I assume the article meant Alan Lee.
Del Toro also revealed that he has winnowed down the list of actors he is considering for the role of Bilbo to four, though he gave no hints of their identities.
British actor Ian McKellen, who will reprise his role as Gandalf in the forthcoming The Hobbit movie, spoke with Comcast Entertainment recently about how he plans to approach the role in a different way.
McKellen makes note of how different the character of Gandalf is in The Hobbit than in The Lord of the Rings. "...what Gandalf has to do in that will be different line by line, scene by scene than the trilogy" McKellen noted.
I for one am happy to see that McKellen, at least, seems to understand the fundamental differences between The Hobbit and LotR. They are closely connected but fundamentally different works.
HarperCollins, JRR Tolkien's UK publisher, has announced the upcoming publication of a previously unpublished Tolkien manuscript, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, introduced and edited by Christopher Tolkien.
The book will be released in the UK as a hardcover edition in May 2009.
The manuscript, according to HarperCollins, dates from the early 1930's during Professor Tolkien's tenure as Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford.
As the name implies, the book is not set in Tolkien's Middle-earth, but is a retelling of the Norse saga of Sigurd in verse.
The story - a part of the larger Volsunga Saga from Norse Mythology - contains many similar elements to Tolkien's recently-published tale from the First Age of Middle-earth, The Children of Hurin.
HarperCollins will reveal more details about the publication as the release date nears.
No information is yet forthcoming about a US (Houghton-Mifflin) edition of this book.
A very happy 117th birthday to Professor Tolkien on this third day of January! Everyone feel free to raise a pint (or a glass of Cool-aide if you are still hungover from New Year's Eve or are underage) and toast "The Professor!"
I would also like to announce, on behalf of good friend Mike Foster, an upcoming presentation by Tolkien Scholar Douglas A. Anderson.
Mr. Anderson will be presenting "Annotating The Hobbit and Other Adventures" at Bradley University's Neumiller Chapel in Bradley Hall, at 7:30 P.M., Tuesday, February 17th, in Peoria, Illinois.
Contributor Mike Foster will be the moderator of the free lecture.
Anderson is the author and editor of The Annotated Hobbit, Tales Before Tolkien, Tales Before Narnia, and, with Verlyn Flieger, an expanded critical edition of Tolkien’s On Fairy-stories, soon to be reviewed here. He is also a co-editor of Tolkien Studies.
I just received the following message:
Hello, I thought the following news might be of interest to your readers! Non-profit Oak Tree Fine Press is selling the following item on eBay to raise money for children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.
A First Edition Deluxe copy of The Children of Hurin signed by Alan Lee. Alan Lee has also sketched by hand a central character from The Children of Hurin onto the first page of this book.
The artist - who won an Oscar for his work on the recent Lord of the Rings film trilogy - has illustrated J.R.R. Tolkien’s works for many years and the opportunity to own an original signed work by him is rare.
Further information and a link to the eBay auction is available on the Oak Tree Fine Press blog at www.otfp.blogspot.com.
This sounds like a great collectible for a great cause. The only drawback is that it is hosted on eBay.co.uk and the bidding is in GBP, but I urge everyone to head on over and take a look and consider bidding.
Houghton-Mifflin's most recent collection of Tolkien-related material will be released on Monday, November 17th. Tales from the Perilous Realm
will feature four of Tolkien's lesser known tales:
All of these works have already been published in various forms. Several of them are already available in The Tolkien Reader, while others (Roverandom) were only available in stand-alone editions.
This is a beautiful new hardcover compendium, complete with a new forward and a series of fantastic illustrations from world-famous Tolkien artist Alan Lee.
In further news somewhat unrelated to Tolkien, J.K. Rowling is releasing her newest Harry Potter related offering, The Tales of Beedle the Bard on December 4th, just in time for Christmas. Both books would make excellent holiday gifts for the reader on your list.
Just to catch up on a couple of little snippets of Tolkien related news, The Children of Hurin was released in paperback yesterday, 10/14, so those of you who waited to buy now have no more excuses. :)
Also, an item from last month that I missed - it appears that the classic BBC dramatization of The Lord of the Rings has been re-released as a CD Box Set at a very reasonable price. Those of you who are unfamiliar with this radio dramatization are really missing out on the best audio production of LotR bar none.
There is another fascinating interview with Hobbit film director Guillermo del Toro over at MTV.com. Del Toro discussed casting possibilities and his plans for creating a unique and believable Smaug.
I stumbled across several remaindered Tolkien hardcovers on Amazon.com for bargain prices. These are brand new books.
You can currently buy the hardcover edition of The Children of Hurin for $7.99; a hardcover compendium edition (Alan Lee cover art) of The Lord of the Rings for $29.99 ($70.00 retail); and a hardcover edition of renowned Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey's J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century for $7.99.
Remaindered books are in very limited numbers so don't wait to get them.
Update: 10/17/08 - It looks as if the remaindered version of The Children of Hurin is sold out. The other two are still available. Get them while you can.
MTV News recently conducted an interview with The Hobbit movie director Guillermo del Toro.
Del Toro let some fascinating details slip about the creative process between himself, Producer Peter Jackson, and their co-writers Phillipa Boyens & Fran Walsh.
Del Toro spoke with MTV about their plans to do not only the Hobbit movie, but a "bridge" movie that spans the time between the events in The Hobbit and those in The Lord of the Rings. Del Toro says they "stopped talking the first movie and second movie, and we just started taking about the movie - the two episodes, or two parts, as if they were a single piece of narrative".
His primary point was about flow - he feels that once the two Hobbit movies are finished a person should be able to watch all five films - The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings without any sort of break in narrative.
The Children of Hurin cover artist Alan Lee will be doing a three city book tour to promote the release and the release of a brand new compilation of Tolkien's classic "faery" tales, Tales from the Perilous Realm, which includes a series of illustrations by Lee.
Update: Due to personal reasons, Alan Lee has been forced to cancel the promotional tour.
According to the BBC, the Judge in the lawsuit the Tolkien Trust has brought against New Line Cinema has declared that "no punitive damages" can be sought by the plaintiffs.
What does this mean to most of us?
Specifically, it means that The Tolkien Trust cannot have production of The Hobbit Movie halted as a "punitive" or disciplinary action for any breach of contract.
This ruling basically defines the scope of the lawsuit going forward. Any ruling found in the Tolkien Trust's favor will involve only "Compensatory Damages". In other words, New Line will be liable only for any monies owed to the Tolkien Trust.
Tolkien scholar Matthew Dickerson, author of Following Gandalf: Epic Battles and Moral Victory in The Lord of the Rings and Ents, Elves, and Eriador: The Environmental Vision of J.R.R. Tolkien will be speaking at Marquette University on Thursday, October 23rd, from 4:00 to 5:30 PM.
The presentation is entitled "Beyond Romanticism: J.R.R. Tolkien's Practical Agrarian Romance" and will explore Tolkien's agrarian vision of The Shire and how it contrasts with Sauron and Saruman's industrialized agriculture.
The event is free and open to the general public. Members of the general public must pre-register at least 24 hours in advance of the program. Phone (414)288-5901 to pre-register.
Several news outlets have announced that -- no surprise here -- The Hobbit screenplay will be written "in house" by Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Fran Walsh, and Phillipa Boyens.
Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens all co-wrote the Lord of the Rings movie scripts. Del Toro and Jackson both have a history of either writing of co-writing their film scripts, so it comes as little surprise that they have decided to do so here.
As expected, news and rumors are beginning to pile up almost daily on The Hobbit Movie.
But things may become derailed even before they've begun. I wrote a while back (see the 2/11/08 update below) about the Tolkien Trust's lawsuit against New Line Cinema and their efforts to block The Hobbit movie due to contractual negligence (not the actual legal term). The Tolkien Trust, led by JRR Tolkien's son Christopher Tolkien, claims it is owed nearly $250 million in royalties from the first trilogy of films, of which they haven't received a penny.
According to The Frodo Franchise author Kristen Thompson at her blog, the attempt by Christopher Tolkien to block The Hobbit is probably overblown, and New Line/Warner Bros is likely to settle out of court long before it reaches that impasse.
Casting rumors have begun to fly, and the name on everybody's lips for the lead role is James McAvoy. McAvoy, who played Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is no stranger to fantasy. I personally like the choice, though at this point there has been no confirmation from Jackson or del Toro.
Rumor also has it that Christopher Lee, who played Saruman in the first film trilogy, will reprise his role in the bridge film.
Director Guillermo del Toro mentioned in a recent article at IGN that we can expect some important casting decisions and announcements to be made before Christmas.
Check out a recent YouTube interview with del Toro below.
It has been a while since my last Tolkien News update, and I apologize to those who track this page regularly. This has been a crazy spring.
Of course, with The Hobbit movie just gaining pre-production momentum, there are a number of important news items of note.
Firstly, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro are hosting a live chat and "question & answer" session tomorrow, May 24th, on the WETA website. It will begin at 11:00 AM US central time. This is a great opportunity to get some of your Hobbit movie questions answered and hear first-hand how the two movie-gurus plan to proceed. But first you have to go to their website and pre-register.
Also, a recent Variety article mentions that preliminary contact has been made with Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis to reprise their roles as Gandalf and Gollum respectively, but also with Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.
Aragorn's character would presumably reprise his role in the second movie, that will serve as a "bridge" between The Hobbit and LotR, since Aragorn does not play a role in The Hobbit itself.
I will continue to pass on more news as it becomes available.
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