J.R.R. Tolkien’s Great Grandson Makes His Filmmaking Debut in Santa Barbara

Nicholas Tolkien at Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA

In 1968, just a few years before his death, J.R.R. Tolkien sold the movie rights to his famous Lord of the Rings trilogy for a mere 10,000 pounds ($24,000 at the time), plus 7.5% of future revenues. And when the first of Peter Jackson’s much anticipated films, The Fellowship of the Ring, was released in 2001, young Nicholas Tolkien was 11 years-old and expecting to earn some serious street cred. But instead, he was teased mightily at school, and called “hobbit”. Plus, with the films earning $3 billion at the box office, the Tolkien family heirs had to sue New Line Cinema in a highly publicized battle to get their share of the revenues. AND, the mere making of the films created a Tolkien family feud that continues today. But despite all the negativity that swirled around the film trilogy, young Nicholas began dreaming of becoming a filmmaker, and at the age of 17, after graduating high school in England at 16, he traveled across the pond by himself in what he calls an “unbelievably misguided journey” into Hollywood. It didn’t take long for Nicholas to realize that his famous name would only get him so far. (Produced by Karen Pelland, aired on Here & Now, 2/2/12)

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