It looks like audiences will get to see a film about the origins of Middle-earth in a new film called “Middle Earth.” More on the name in a moment.
The Hollywood Reporter announced this morning the film will chart “the tumultuous events” that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write “The Hobbit,” and “The Lord of the Rings,” trilogy. (Actually the article said “trilogies,” but there is only one trilogy, as you know.) It is to be directed by James Strong who might be most easily recognizable as the director of two episodes of “Downton Abbey,” with the films “United,” with episodes of “Dr. Who,” as well.
The film also pairs two of the men who played a big role in Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy with New Line Cinema Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne. They were the gentlemen who helped get those movies made when most of Hollywood wouldn’t touch them. Later they had a falling out with Jackson and eventually New Line collapsed and was swallowed by Warner Bros.
Shaye and Lynee will produce the new film through their Unique Features with Rachael Horovitz. Strong is currently directing the AMC/ITV miniseries “Liar,” according to the article.
Now, about that name. J.R.R. Tolkien distinctly named his created world “Middle-earth” not “Middle Earth.” If you think that isn’t a big deal, remember he was a professor of languages and literature who worked on the dictionary and created the whole thing in the first place because he was a linguist who was inventing languages.
So while it is easy to forgive a fan using Middle-earth as two words with capital letters, not so much in movie titles. Warner Bros., for example, while taking creative license with “The Hobbit,” got it right virtually every, single, time. To Tolkien, the subject of the biography, language matters.
And, to reverse things, nobody would excuse a title about the place “San-francisco” and not find it odd.
Making a biography about Tolkien, supposedly telling the story of his life, and getting that detail wrong in the title could be a bad sign.
On the other hand, this could be just a simple oversight by The Hollywood Reporter writer, but hey, the story also included a picture of Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins instead a picture of, you know, The Professor, so a mistake sounds pretty reasonable. That and stating that Tolkien had two trilogies makes it seem as least possible as a writer’s error. However, most of the info sounds like it was taken from a press release, which would prominently feature a title.
In any case, fans have more Tolkien and more about the creation of Middle-earth to look forward to.
If you haven’t read “J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography,” by Humpfrey Carpenter, it is essential. And, “Tolkien and the Great War,” by John Garth, is also excellent and covers the ground the film will attempt to cover.
Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne
From deadlinehollywooddaily.com So the two New Line founders bounced from their studio by Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes are finally getting closer to starting their own company. I hear Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne are setting up offices on the 9th floor of their old building on Robertson Blvd in Los Angeles. Tipsters tell me that the L.A. head of production is probably Mark Kaufman, responsible for such memorable un-hits as The Man, Martian Child, Codename: Cleaner, Secondhand Lions, but also one legitimate moneymaker, Hairspray. Ever since Shaye and Lynne found out they were being fired (which I reported exclusively back in January), the pair have been talking about this setting up of a production entity fueled by some projects from New Line development that they could make for their ex-underling Toby Emmerich and that would go through Warner Bros. Also, I hear Warner Bros may give them some films to produce and develop. Bob Shaye & Michael Lynne Set Shingle
From IMDB: At least 75 percent of New Line’s staff of 600 are likely to be fired in the coming months despite assurances by Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes on Friday that he wants to retain as many New Line employees as possible, Daily Variety reported today (Monday), citing an “emerging consensus.” The trade publication said that New Line is also expected to shut down its offices in New York and its headquarters in West Hollywood, moving remaining operations to the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. Speaking to New Line employees by satellite on Friday, Bewkes said that Co-Chairmen Bob Shaye and Michael Lynn are “still here,” but “for everyone’s sake, they need to step back from the process.”
Epleterte sends us the snippet from Variety’s article ‘Warner Bros. gobbles up New Line’: “The Hobbit” has Guillermo Del Toro in talks to direct, and the picture will be unaffected by the ouster of Shaye and Lynne. Though the films won’t be scripted until a director is hired, and Jackson wraps “The Lovely Bones,” the expectation is that the films will be ready for release for Christmas 2011 and 2012. Harry Potter will have wound down at WB by then, and the corporation will surely welcome another fantasy franchise that has an eager global audience waiting. New Line will distribute domestically, while MGM has international rights.
Contrary to previous reports on IMDB there is “no truth” to the rumor that New Line Cinema’s Bob Shaye & Michael Lynne were being sacked, and all projects, including The Hobbit were moving completely over to the Warner Bros. camps. A New Line spokesperson stated via email to us today that the story was false, and they are seeking a correction on IMDB.
From IMDB: Following a planned meeting this week with new Time Warner Chairman Jeff Bewkes, New Line Cinema founders Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne are expected to be terminated and New Line’s projects, including The Hobbit, folded into Warner Bros., L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke reported on her Deadline Hollywood Daily blog Monday, citing no sources. With the exception of last year’s Hairspray, New Line has had a nearly uninterrupted string of financial failures since its Lord of the Rings franchise ran out.