Since his breakthrough role in “About a Boy”, Nicholas Hoult has become one of the most prolific and well-known stars in Hollywood over several years. From acting in X-Men to playing the lead role in Tolkein, Nicholas Hoult is one of Hollywood’s most coveted actors.
In Tolkien, the biopic tells the viewers about his early life as an orphan in Birmingham to his time in England where his passion for stories came out in the true sense. After acting in the Rebel in Rye (about the famous author of The Catcher in the Rye), Hoult beautifully plays the role of mature Tolkien and recently talked about bringing the life of the famous writer Tolkien to the screen. To ensure that he fits into the roles, Hoult reads up on the character’s history – he even drew illustrations of Tolkien and recreated his watercolors, and thinks it was a good idea to read up on catcher in the rye essay before acting in the movie.
When did you first come across Tolkien? Was it after you read the books or watched movies at the start or did you come to know about Tolkien after you were cast for the role?
Actually, I read the book a long time ago. On the set of my first movie, About A Boy, one of the directors, gave me a copy of The Hobbit and I was hooked. That copy is still sitting on my bookshelf.
Did you learn the illustrations like Tolkien while preparing for the role?
Yes, I did learn to do illustrations in preparation for the role. While I was shooting X-Men: Dark Phoenix, I was working on some of the languages and the script of Tolkien. I didn’t know that Tolkien drew all the illustrations and maps on his own and when I found that, I was blown away by how incredible that was.
So, I would go back and look at the maps and illustrations. I used the kit of the makeup artists at the X-Men set to recreate Tolkien’s watercolors.
When you were researching the role, did you look into his history or simply go through his books?
I did both. I went back and read his work and stories along with biographies and any information that I could find about Tolkien. This was interesting. When I related his life with his work, I could see a hint of where he got his inspiration for the brilliance in his work. Moreover, the script of the movie itself is brilliant in combining his life experiences and his stories in an alluring and enticing way.
We heard that you took mannerism tests to work out things for the role. What was that?
I worked on the way Tolkien walked amongst other few things. There was this way he held his pen, the way he spoke, his dialect, etc. So the mannerism test was more like fitting into the character in the most perfect way possible.
Not all the things in Tolkien’s life have been portrayed in the movie and a few things have been altered as well. What was the major change in your opinion?
I feel like there were plenty of interesting things that weren’t put in the movie. Such as the fact that Edith had a fiancée and all three of them met Tolkien and went for tea. This is where their love and romance were rekindled. There are little things in his life that aren’t in the movie, but overall, we have covered most of the parts of his life – his mother inspiring him with prose and language and then her death and the essence of becoming an orphan, the love and relationships that inspired him, etc. have been covered in the biopic.
The Tolkien estate said they have distanced themselves from the film. How does that feel to you since you are the star of the movie?
I am a fan of Tolkien, and it was an immense honor that I got to play him. I think that we portrayed a very respectful version of who he was in his life and the things that inspired him to create such beautiful worlds. We invited the people from Tolkien Estate to see the film. His great-grandson played in one of the scenes about world War I. He is going to come and see the premiere. We are hoping that when they see it, they will like it.