Young actor Nicholas Hoult has really shown his vast acting range over his career to date. From appearing in the big action blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road, through to playing the challenging Beat in the X-Men franchise and starring as a zombie that can barely speak in romantic comedy Warm Bodies. Now Hoult gets to test that range even more by playing one of the most fascinating literary creators of all time – Tolkien in the biopic about the Lord Of The Rings creators life.
“I got involved with this project through Fox Searchlight because we had just finished filming The Favourite,” he explains. “They sent me the script and asked me to meet with Dome (director Dome Karukosi) and that meeting was great. I mean I loved the script but then getting to see Dome’s take on the story and feeling his energy it was like ‘yes this is the right person to bring this story to life’ and it just felt like this could be a really wonderful take on being able to learn the story behind the artist that has given us this wonderful mythology.”
“I was fairly familiar with his work,” says Hoult when he is asked how familiar he was with Tolkien before he started the film. “I had read The Hobbit after filming About A Boy because the directors gave me a copy of the book, and then I had read a little bit of Lord OF The Rings and had watched the films… and was a huge fan of those, and I had played the card game after school. I loved the world and understood that, but really didn’t know much about the man behind those stories. And that is what was incredible when I read the script, it was a beautiful story that stood alone on its own about friendships and love and this orphan boy who found this safe space to create and then it was all torn away from him because of World War I, but also as a fan I was finding out where all that inspiration came from. First of all I was in awe because of the fascinating life that he had because I was thinking that even if he hadn’t created this wonderful things this was still just a beautiful story and the life that he lived was remarkable. It was that and his love for language which I didn’t realise, and it was that that stemmed all these worlds – he wanted to create languages and his mother instilled that passion in him but then he learnt and realised that you can’t just create a language without people to speak it and a history for that language and suddenly from that he creates middle earth.”
Tolkien is in cinemas now.