It certainly isn’t by accident, as the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy franchise has captivated the imagination of audiences since The Hobbit’s first publication in 1936. And no one knows this better than the cast of director Dome Karukoski’s film centered around the years that Tolkien himself spent in the halls of academia and the trenches of war.
Depending on who you talk to, there are various aspects to J.R.R. Tolkien’s work that attract any particular reader. And as it happens, CinemaBlend was on hand during the press day for Tolkien, and was able to ask the actors present on the day just what makes those works so timeless. In the case of Nicholas Hoult, the man who plays Tolkien himself, those works of literature stand out for the following reasons:
I think it feels so real, and that is a testament to how creative and in depth his knowledge of language and the worlds he created were. It’s completely immersive, his work. So that’s something that no matter what age you read it at, and luckily for me going back to revisit it to research this, I appreciated it in a whole new way.
Of course, J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t create the world of Middle Earth in a vacuum, and there were a couple very important people that stand out in both the story of the author’s life, as well as the film version that Tolkien will dramatize for audiences that will see the film in theaters.
One such person was the love of his life, Edith Bratt, who is played in the film by Lily Collins. When asked what she felt made Tolkien’s work so special, she shared some of the same aspects that Nicholas Hoult had highlighted, but with some additional details as to how her character fit into the legend behind the history.
In particular, Collins had the following to say on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien:
I think his love of language, and his love of magic and fantasy is something that people are going to always resonate with, because it’s a form of escapism. Edith [Bratt] got that out of his storytelling, and it was a way for her to really leave her present existence. You know, she was a woman of the time, she was an orphan, she had a very specific social standing, and didn’t have many prospects, and so this allowed her the ability to disappear. I think we love the ability to go somewhere else for a little while in our heads, and these stories allow us to do that.
As there is a lot of romantic love to be highlighted in the world of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, especially when it comes to the Elvish beauties that Edith Bratt had inspired Tolkien to create, there’s also a strong bond of fellowship.
That particular branch of the mythos that J.R.R. Tolkien wove into his works came from the friendship he had with a personal society of school friends known as the Tea Club, Barovian Society, or TCBS for short. In Tolkien, the world of this informal fraternity is depicted at length, as the author and his friends, Geoffrey Bache Smith, Robert Q. Gilson, and Christopher Wiseman, are seen creating the club and using it to achieve their great goal in life: to change the world through art.
Played respectively by actors Anthony Boyle, Patrick Gibson, and Tom Glynn-Carney, they too had a unique perspective as to why J.R.R. Tolkien’s work translates so well through the ages, as shown below in their individual remarks during a grouped interview:
Glynn-Carney: His incredible capability to create another world, out of nothing. To be as imaginative as he is, and to see it in such vivid technicolor, and be able to bring it to life.
Boyle: Few authors have had the sort of cultural impact that Tolkien has had.
Gibson: And to be able to incorporate such human stories at the middle of a fantastical world, you feel like you could know those characters, yet it’s a tree. It’s Treebeard, and you think you’ve met him before.
With both massive sales of his printed works, as well as the various adaptations for stage and screen that have seen The Lord of the Rings presented to the world, J.R.R. Tolkien’s impact on the world of fantasy is one that isn’t going to go away any time soon. This is especially true when taking into account the fact that Amazon is about to bring the world of Middle-Earth back to the masses, courtesy of their upcoming epic TV series.
Though you can see just how excited the cast is about the works of Tolkien, as well as their part in bringing his personal story to life, in the footage from the Tolkien press day shown below:
While storytelling and fantasy have come a long way since J.R.R. Tolkien's era of literature, the core values of Tolkien's storytelling have never gone out of style. So even if audiences aren't particularly keyed into the author's famous tales, his work lives on due to his influence being felt on stories like Harry Potter and even Game of Thrones.