Narnia exec Mark Joseph producing a Tolkien & Lewis Movie

Tolkien & LewisOver the last few years, there have been many starts and stops for movies based on the life of J.R.R. Tolkien, including some that focus on his friendship with Narnia writer C.S. Lewis. There are currently at least two Tolkien movies that seem to be nearing production, with at least two more that I know are in varying stages of development. There’s also a TV series that is currently being written. Yep, that’s four different movies and a television series about Tolkien.

Tolkien & LewisThe story centers on Tolkien’s relationship with his University of Oxford colleague C.S. Lewis, whom Tolkien, a devout Catholic, converted to Christianity. The formerly agnostic Lewis’ newfound faith infused his most popular books, including The Chronicles of Narnia series, while Lewis in turn encouraged Tolkien to finish hisThe Lord of the Rings volumes, which were decades in the making. Much of the movie takes place at the beginning of World War II, when Tolkien, a veteran of World War I, is haunted by memories of his fallen friends. Meanwhile, Lewis’ growing fame as an untrained theologian strains his relationship with Tolkien and his university job. Tolkien & Lewis producers include Mark Joseph (ReaganMax Rose), Mark Cooper(Chocolat), Jib Polhemus (The Mechanic), Charles Moore (The Eagle) and Wernher Pramschufer. (via) It is an $18 million drama, and will be produced by UK-based production outfit Attractive Films and directed by Simon West, known for The Expendables 2Con Air, and a certain Rick Astley music video.

Mark Joseph, a producer on Tolkien & Lewis, was also an exec for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005).

Tolkien (Working Title) – The Tolkien project is being put together at studio Fox Searchlight by producer Peter Chernin of Chernin Entertainment, which has brought films such as The Heat and Rise of the Planet of the Apes to cinemas in recent years. It will follow in the celluloid footsteps of films such as the Oscar-nominated 2004 J.M. Barrie biopic Finding Neverland, which told the story of the creator of Peter Pan, and this year’s London film festival hit Saving Mr. Banks, which chronicled the history of the spiky inventor of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers, and her tussles with Walt Disney over the film adaptation of her book. (via)

I’m not sure of the progress of the other three projects, at this point. These two look closest to production at this point.

 

Death of C.S. Lewis Scholar Dr. Christopher Mitchell

Christopher Mitchell4Many of you will likely not recognize the name of Dr. Christopher Mitchell who died unexpectedly on Thursday, July 10, 2014. He was a very humble gentleman who tended to focus on encouraging the work of others than making sure you knew his name.

Last year he joined the Torrey Honors Institute of Biola University to teach there after being the Director of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College in Illinois for nearly 20 years (learn more about the Wade by listening to this interview from All About Jack: A C.S. Lewis Podcast).

Wheaton Bible Church will be having a Memorial Service on Friday evening, July 18th. The service is at 7 o’clock with visitation from 3-7 p.m. Another Memorial Service is will be at Grace EV Free Church in La Mirada on Sunday, July 20 at 5:30 p.m.

If you knew him, or had been touch by his life in same way, you can express your thoughts on a special Facebook page created to honor is legacy. Additionally a special podcast was recently posted at All About Jack featuring several friends of Dr. Mitchell reflecting on the impact his life had on them.

Tony Nixon cast as James Welch for “JACK AND TOLLERS”

Tony NixonGOOD NEWS from Third Dart Studios!  Actor TONY NIXON (First Mate RYNELF in THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER) is the first actor to be cast in JACK AND TOLLERS! Tony’s role is pivotal as he’ll be playing JAMES WELCH who was the Director of Religious Broadcasting for the BBC during World War II.  Welch contacted C. S. Lewis and through a heartfelt exchange asked him to speak for their Nation in dire need.

Third Dart is thrilled to have Tony on board as we move closer to production.  From playing a character in Lewis’ legendary work of fiction for children, to playing a man of history who helped Lewis accept his calling during WW II, Tony has much to offer our project…in his own words he says, “My life seems to have intersected with that of Jack and Tollers in so many ways. As a child growing up in England the Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were part of our childhood. I remember clearly my cousin Peter and I avidly working our way through the Narnia adventures, and discussing them in great detail. In 2008 I was in France filming a documentary about my great grandfather who was killed in the Somme district in 1916. It turns out that Tolkien was at the very battlefield on the same day that my ancestor was killed. Who knows, maybe they passed one another. Of course stepping onto the deck of The Dawn Treader for over three months was amongst the most amazing experiences of my life. Whilst the part of James Welch is quite small in the sense of screen time it is an important part of the story of C.S. Lewis and the history of the British people, at a grave time in the history of that nation. I am honoured to be trusted with this part of an amazing story.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Jack and Tollers, a film about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, is On the Way

Jack and TollersWe’ve heard some very good news this week.  There is, in fact, a film about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien coming in the very near future.

Written by Darren Jacobs and Dr. Louis Markos, this is a film that has been planned for many years.  It’s a dream project for everyone involved, and they want to make the best movie possible.  One that captures the friendship of these two writers in a very real way.

Here’s a description from their Indiegogo campaign page.

Many know that C.S. Lewis wrote THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA.  Most know J.R.R.Tolkien wrote THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Each of these series have sold more than 100 million copies, translated into dozens of languages and enjoyed the world over in cinema.

What most do not know is that Lewis and Tolkien were close friends. Their unique friendship, one that was turbulent, supportive, joyous and raucous, helped create two of the most iconic stories of the 20th century.

JACK AND TOLLERS is the true story of the friendship of Lewis and Tolkien.  It will give you a glimpse into the souls of these incredible Men of Letters. Until now, there has never been a major motion picture depicting their unique friendship.  For the global fan base of both authors and indeed the fantasy genre itself, we are excited to
say that the time has come to move forward into production.

The movie is already funded, but they’re running the campaign so that fans like us can be a part of the movie, so let’s get behind it in a big way, and like their page, and share it.  Please do us a favor and like their page.

Read the rest of this entry »

C.S. Lewis Honored in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey

C.S. Lewis in Poet's Corner at Westminster AbbeyThis story may be coming later than I intended, but we had personal family matters to attend to that took up all of our time for a while.  However, I feel that it’s an important one to report on anyway.  As Americans mark the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Christians worldwide are remembering a beloved and renowned defender of their faith who died the same day.

In London, Westminster Abbey held a service to dedicate a Memorial to C.S. Lewis, the writer, scholar, and apologist. It was led by The Dean of Westminster The Very Reverend Dr. John Hall.  Lewis joins writers such as Charles Dickens, Samuel Butler, Sir Walter Scott, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte who have also been given memorials there.

Lewis died from renal failure on Nov. 22, 1963, a week shy of his 65th birthday.  Last Sunday, a commemorative service was held at Holy Trinity Church in Oxford, where Lewis worshiped for 30 years.

The engraving on the memorial reads: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

-via

Further Reading:

Westminster Abbey – C.S. Lewis

Westminster Abbey – Poet’s Corner

Never-before-seen Lewis Essay on Truth and Fiction saved from a Fire

Image and Imagination - C.S. LewisWe’re very excited about a new book full of the writings of C.S. Lewis.  Some of them have never been read by those that have studied the works of C.S. Lewis for many years.  Until now, they may have even thought they owned every available piece of C.S. Lewis’ writing.  Here we have an excerpt from the essay, which the book takes its’ name from: Image and Imagination (available in paperback and for Amazon Kindle).

This new publication from Cambridge University Press, meant to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the death of C.S. Lewis (22 November), is a collection of criticism and reviews by Lewis.  This essay was rescued from a fire at the Lewis family home, written in a ruled school notebook.  It was possibly intended for publication by T.S. Eliot in the Criterion.  It is an extraordinary rumination on the relationship between art and truth, literature and the imagination.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Radio Drama: C.S. Lewis at War: The Dramatic Story Behind Mere Christianity Now Available

C.S. Lewis at WarI just found this audio drama on Amazon.com today, called C.S. Lewis at War: The Dramatic Story Behind Mere Christianity.  Paul McCusker, the man behind the Chronicles of Narnia Radio Dramas has done it again, creating this new radio drama for Focus on the Family Radio Theatre.  Now, for the first time, the dramatic story of the life of C.S. Lewis and the events behind the creation of Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters are played out with a full cast of award-winning actors including John Rhys-Davis; and an original music score — recorded in London, England, and on location in C.S. Lewis’ Oxford home. Also included in this package is a new, dramatic reading of Lewis’ Mere Christianity — capturing the clarity, intelligence and wit of Lewis’ words in a way not experienced before.

Mere Christianity, one of the greatest Christian books of the twentieth century, was created as a series of radio broadcasts in a time of great conflict and adversity. England had gone to war with Germany. Injury and death impacted everyone. Day-to-day living was immensely difficult. Children were evacuated from London and sent to other parts of the country (Lewis himself took in a few). It was a time of strain, heartbreak, and weariness.

Read the rest of this entry »

C.S. Lewis Reviews “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings,” in Image and Imagination

Image and Imagination - C.S. LewisA new book published this week features reviews that C.S. Lewis wrote on J.R.R. Tolkien’s books The Hobbit and each part of The Lord of the Rings.  That book is called Image and Imagination.

This selection from the writings of C. S. Lewis gathers together forty book reviews, never before reprinted, as well as four major essays which have been unavailable for many decades. A fifth essay, ‘Image and Imagination,’ is published for the first time. Taken together, the collection presents some of Lewis’s finest literary criticism and religious exposition. The essays and reviews substantiate his reputation as an eloquent and authoritative critic across a wide range of literature, and as a keen judge of contemporary scholarship, while his reviews of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings will be of additional interest to scholars and students of fantasy.

This book is available in paperback and for Amazon Kindle.

Here’s a short excerpt from Lewis’ review of The Hobbit to give you an idea of what you’ll find in this book:

Though all is marvellous, nothing is arbitrary: all the inhabitants of Wilderland seem to have the same unquestionable right to their existence as those of our own world, though the fortunate child who meets them will have no notion—and his unlearned elders not much more—of the deep sources in our blood and tradition from which they spring.

For it must be understood that this is a children’s book only in the sense that the first of many readings can be undertaken in the nursery. Alice is read gravely by children and with laughter by grown ups; The Hobbit, on the other hand, will be funnier to its youngest readers, and only years later, at a tenth or a twentieth reading, will they begin to realise what deft scholarship and profound reflection have gone to make everything in it so ripe, so friendly, and in its own way so true. Prediction is dangerous: but The Hobbit may well prove a classic.

Rostrevor was C.S. Lewis’ idea of Narnia, and it’s under spotlight during C.S. Lewis 50th anniversary

Rostrevor - NarniaHave you ever wondered where, in the world, you could go to see what Narnia might have looked like to C.S. Lewis?  We’ve seen spectacular vistas in the films, to be sure, but those views were based on locations scouted for filming.  Personally, I have never seen these quotes from C.S. Lewis, but he has mentioned what his ideas of the look of Narnia were like.

“I have seen landscapes, notably in the Mourne Mountains and southwards which under a particular light made me feel that at any moment a giant might raise his head over the next ridge.”  He continues, “That part of Rostrevor which overlooks Carlingford Lough is my idea of Narnia.”  And finally, “I yearn to see County Down in the snow; one almost expects to see a march of dwarfs dashing past. How I long to break into a world where such things were true.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Belfast Launches new C.S. Lewis Festival

C.S. Lewis FestivalThe city of Belfast, where Narnia writer C.S. Lewis was born, has begun a festival celebrating his life.  The first C.S. Lewis Festival is taking place from the 18th to the 23rd of November.  I has been funded by the Belfast City Council

It marks Friday’s 50th anniversary of the death of the renowned author, theologian and academic.

Among the highlights will be Lewis by Lamplight, an enchanted tour of the writer’s old school, Campbell College.  A famous lamp – thought to be the inspiration for the lamp in Narnia, where Lucy first met Mr. Tumnus – will be officially turned on.

Throughout the week, there will be events commemorating and exploring the legacy of Lewis and his close links to the city that so inspired much of his work.

Festival organizer Wendy Langham said: “C.S. Lewis is one of those figures that everybody has heard of, but perhaps few realize that he was born, and for a time, was schooled in east Belfast.  On the 50th anniversary of his death, the C.S. Lewis Festival seeks to discover and celebrate those connections and invite people to come on a journey with us across the east, and hopefully have a lot of fun in the process.”

Read the rest of this entry »