There are only a few weeks until the release of Tolkien, the upcoming biopic about the acclaimed Lord of the Rings author, but it seems Tolkien’s family is eager to jump ahead of the movie. The family released a statement Tuesday saying they wanted to “make clear that they did not approve of, authorize or participate in the making” of the movie. What’s more, “they do not endorse it or its content in any way.” (h/t The Hollywood Reporter)
Tolkien focuses on the period of the young author’s life before Rings, and appears to cover the supposed events that inspired him to create Middle Earth and the stories therein. The biopic looks like it could center these events on a young Tolkien’s romantic life and school days, with some magical realism woven into the true-to-life moments.
The Tolkien estate has resisted the making of a biopic about J.R.R. Tolkien for many years—the author has been dead for 46 years—and it’s important to note they haven’t actually seen Tolkien. This move could just be a precautionary measure. The statement notes that the estate has never given approval of a biopic, and that this particular stance is not a reflection of any particular scene or aspect of this movie.
Nevertheless, the statement does show just how uninvolved Tolkien’s family was in the making of the film, and that could lead to some ruffled feathers over how exactly Tolkien interprets the life of its subject. Hardcore fans might want to step lightly considering the possibility for embellishment, but on the other hand, the prospect of a Tolkien movie that has more room to play with the fantastical side of the famous author could be an exciting way to tell the story of his world-renowned work.
In any case, we’ll be able to see how the story pans out when Tolkien arrives in theaters May 10.
UPDATE: Fox Searchlight Pictures has sent us a statement regarding this story. They said, “We are so proud of Dome Karukoski’s film Tolkien which focuses on the early years of J.R.R. Tolkien’s extraordinary life and does not depict subject matter from his novels. While we did not work with the Tolkien Estate on this project, the filmmaking team has the utmost respect and admiration for Mr. Tolkien and his phenomenal contribution to literature.”