Author Steve Hillard has reached an agreement with the infamously protective Tolkien estate that will now see, after some initial fears, his novel Mirkwood make it to publication and what's more, he's signed a deal that will see the book adapted to a movie.
Here's the blurb from the book's Amazon page:
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.
Crikey. I think I might just order that right now… click.
The movie will be produced by EMO Films (change that name, now, EMO) and, according to Hillard, as quoted in The Hollywood Reporter, will change things up a little:
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.
I'm put in mind of Dreamchild, Gavin Millar and Dennis Potter's fictional biography of Alice Liddell with Wonderlanders from the Henson workshop; or Neil Gaiman's stories of Shakespeare from The Sandman. It's fine company that Hillard keeps in this odd little genre – or, to slice it another way, some real competition that his book will likely be measured against.