The director and stars of a new film about the life of Oxford author JRR Tolkien have backed the biopic after the author’s family voiced their disapproval of the film.

The film has already proved a hit at the box office and is being screened at the Odeon, Vue, Curzon and Phoenix cinemas in Oxford.

However, the estate of JRR Tolkien have made clear the family “do not endorse it or its content in any way”.

The stars of the film have responded by saying their work respects and honours the author of The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.

Nicholas Hoult, who plays the writer, who was a Fellow at Pembroke College and lived in Northmoor Road, North Oxford, said he was a fan of Tolkien’s work and insisted the film based on his life was made “very respectfully”.

Lily Collins, playing the writer’s wife Edith Bratt, said the biopic was the “right honour”.

The Tolkien estate and his family released a statement last month saying “they did not approve of, authorise or participate in the making of this film”.

Director Dome Karukoski said that the film was made with love and respect, and believes Tolkien would approve of the dramatic storytelling.

He said not having family approval was “tricky”, but defended the film.

He said: “Well, they haven’t seen the film. It is a labour of love. It is done with respect and admiration for the professor.

“It’s a dramatic, beautiful, cinematic tale. It feels odd that a storyteller wouldn’t want that on the screen.

Oxford Mail:

Lily Collins

“I have offered to sit with the estate and talk, and explain why some artistic choices have been made. It’s a tricky one, but I would just love to watch the film with them.”

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Hoult plays Tolkien in his younger days, faced with romance, flowering friendship and the horrors of the First World War – traumas and experiences that shaped his future work as an author.

The actor said the story should be shared to inspire audiences.

He said: “I think it’s been done very respectfully, as a fan.

“It’s story that stands alone. Such a remarkable life - his relationships, what he endured in World War One. What inspired him, hopefully it will inspire new audiences now.”