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Tolkien Becomes a Fantasy Character in Steve Hillard’s ‘Mirkwood’

By on August 16, 2011

Author Steve Hillard has signed a deal with EMO Films which will see his novel Mirkwood: A Novel About JRR Tolkien turned into a movie.

Although Mirkwood, a fantasy/biopic hybrid of sorts, claims to be a novel about Tolkien (author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit), it is nonetheless a work of fiction, featuring a ‘re-invented’ Tolkien set against a backdrop which blurs our reality with those featured in Tolkien’s famous works.

The Amazon book seller blurb for the book reads as follows: 

Enter Mirkwood, the Great Forest of Doubt. Bold new author Steve Hillard’s wildly original debut, Mirkwood, re-invents J.R.R. Tolkien as a man haunted by the very myths he rewove into his famous works. As much literary criticism as boisterous epic, this episodically-driven plot explores the blurred borderlands where ancient tales, lost heroines, and epic journeys are stalked by dim monsters that will not be still. In 1970, Professor Tolkien makes a little-known visit to America-and sets in motion elvish powers embodied in a cache of archaic documents. Destinies are altered, legends become real, and two heroines must race for their lives in vastly different worlds.

A cease-and-desist letter and threatened lawsuit were issued by the Tolkien Estate as soon as word of the novel surfaced, instructing Hillard to stop his publication and destroy all copies of his work.

Hillard argued that he had a First Amendment right to publish the work, and took to the U.S. District Court in Texas in February to prove it.

A settlement between the Tolkien Estate and Hillard has since been reached allowing the author to proceed with the publication and sign a deal with EMO Films to develop and secure financing for the project, although a disclaimer on the book now states that it is purely fictional and is neither endorsed by nor connected with The JRR Tolkien Estate or its publisher.  The book also now contains a modified reference to Tolkien on its front cover.

Emo’s Joel Eisenberg and Timothy Owens will executive produce the adaptation.

The adaptation of Mirkwood will follow the template of the novel, but will delve considerably deeper into Tolkien’s little-known back story, such as his original plans to become a codebreaker in World War II up through the writing of his enduring works,” Hillard told the Hollywood Reporter recently.


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