Cast members of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films are rallying to purchase the house where J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his most famous works. The goal is to renovate the grounds and transform the building into a museum.
The enterprise is led by Project Northmoor and British author Julia Golding, who has convinced the current owners to give her three months before they put the house on the open market. The project has received special attention from Sir Ian McKellan, who graced both trilogies as the wizard Gandalf, as well as Martin Freeman, who starred as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit series, John Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli and voiced Treebeard in The Lord of the Rings, and other members of the cast and crew.
“Unlike other writers of his stature, there is no centre devoted to Tolkien anywhere in the world,” McKellan wrote on Twitter. “Yet.” The first goal is to raise £4.5 million (that’s about $6.1 million in USD) just to purchase the property at 20 Northmoor Road in Oxford. Beyond that, there are a series of smaller benchmarks, totaling another half a million, which would allow the construction of a hobbit house, platforms (or flets if you’re from Lórien) for “pipe smokers” in the planned exhibits of Tolkein’s Tree and Smaug’s Lair, and a fund for those from low-income backgrounds to attend special events.
Via CBS News, Rhys-Davies said in a statement, “The vision is to make Tolkien’s house into a literary hub that will inspire new generations of writers, artists and filmmakers for many years to come.”
Ian McKellan shared a video explaining the project and why it is important. The three-minute clip features Rhys-Davies, Freeman, Golding, Lord of the Rings illustrator John Howe, songwriter Annie Lennox, who won an Oscar for “Into the West” from Return of the King, and more. Check it out below.
Earlier this week, director Peter Jackson announced a new 4K remastering of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In June, the LotR cast reunited for a “One Zoom to Rule Them All” charity fundraiser. A spinoff TV series is in the works at Amazon.
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) December 2, 2020
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