Los Angeles Times released yesterday an article in which Lily Collins and her Tolkien co-star Nicholas Hoult speak about the movie, preparing for the role and J.R.R. Tolkien. You can read the full article below, plus check out some beautiful outtakes of the duo taken for the article in our gallery!
The early years of J.R.R. Tolkien’s life play out very much like fiction in Dome Karukoski’s biopic of the famed author. So much so that Karukoski doesn’t really consider “Tolkien,” in theaters Friday, to be a biopic at all.
The film, which stars Nicholas Hoult as the “Lord of the Rings” author and Lily Collins as his wife, Edith Bratt, recounts Tolkien’s young life, from the loss of his parents to his school years to fighting in World War I. Much of that personal saga is unknown, even to super fans of Tolkien, a category in which Karukoski puts himself.
“I didn’t know anything about his younger life,” the director said during a recent press day in London. “When I started digging it was surprising. It was this fable of emotions he had experienced that are so readable in his own books. … It’s a story about youth and love and friendship and exploring his mind. It’s quite stunning that this story hasn’t been told.”
Hoult, who also grew up reading the author’s works, looked for fine details and nuance in his research, pulling from books and video interviews Tolkien did later in life. His goal wasn’t to do an impression of Tolkien, but to try to get inside his head and capture his essence.
“Nowadays, even if you don’t know someone’s work you seem to know them, just through how much news is covered and through Twitter,” the actor reflected. “You seem to know a lot about a lot of people’s lives. And this is someone who I was a fan of and when I read the script I was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know any of that.’ It was … lovely to get to go back through his work and learn about what inspired him and the relationships that meant something to him.”
The actor prepared while shooting “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and spent time between takes — in full costume and makeup as Beast — painting watercolors in Tolkien’s style.
He added, “You do all this research and then hopefully in the back of your mind, when you’re on set, it’s subconsciously there. Detail is where it all comes from.”
Collins had less to work with because Edith and her life aren’t well documented. A few photographs, including some of the couple together, do exist — the actress sensed a cheekiness to Edith, which she brought to the performance — and Collins was able to research what it would have been like for women during that period in general.