Christopher Tolkien, 87, the son of legendary British author J.R.R. Tolkien and the official executor of his estate does not normally give press interviews. In fact, in the 40 years since his father’s death he has given but one interview to French publication Le Monde that was published in July of 2012.
Now, to coincide with the cinema release of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” – Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema’s big screen adaptation of Tolkien’s The Hobbit novel – WorldCrunch has released a transcript of that interview translated into English.
In the extensive, insightful and heartfelt interview, Christopher Tolkien speaks openly about his father’s works, legacy and his deep disappointment with director Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Lord of the Rings – which many would say is Tolkien’s greatest work.
There is a fascinating segment on Christopher’s long quest to get The Silmarillion published after his father’s death and ensure that it did justice to his memory.
He also talks about the way in which Lord of the Rings became a kind of “autonomous entity” taking on a life of its own, inspiring people in all corners of the world, including legendary director George Lucas and his infamous Star Wars series and classic rockers Led Zeppelin.
That autonomy didn’t bother the Tolkien family until the release of the first Peter Jackson films, which they saw as threatening to engulf the literary work. Christopher elaborates on the long-running legal dispute between New Line Cinema and the Tolkien estate over the movie adaptations and why he rejected the opportunity to meet with Peter Jackson to discuss the adaptations. Christopher states; “They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25…And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.”
Christopher also goes into great detail about the family’s struggle to protect J.R.R Tolkien’s literary works from the “three-ring circus that has developed around it” and that they try to do what they can, but has no control over the way New Line Cinema adapts his books.
This interview is easily one of the most interesting, thought-provoking interviews that I have ever read. I think that all Tolkien fans, whether literary or film fans need to read this interview as it will give them a great insight into the author and the huge legacy of his work.