Simon West ("The Expendables 2," "Con Air," "Tomb Raider") is attached to direct the $18 million indie feature "Tolkien and Lewis" for Attractive Films.
Set primarily at the beginning of World War II, the story centers on "The Lord of the Rings" author J.R.R. Tolkien's friendship with his University of Oxford colleague, the "Chronicles of Narnia" author C.S. Lewis.
Tolkien, a devout Catholic, converted Lewis to Christianity which became a key element of his 'Narnia' series and in turn made the author something of a poster boy for Christianity. On the flip side, Lewis encouraged Tolkien to finish his "The Lord of the Rings" volumes despite "The Hobbit" author being haunted by memories of the first World War.
The friendship is ultimately poisoned by jealousy, paranoia and creative and religious differences. The producers are aiming for an Easter release and will court the lucrative "faith-based" audience demographic.
The project is not to be confused with "Tolkien," Fox Searchlight's bigger budget take on the 'Rings' author which they and Chernin Entertainment are developing.