Arts & Culture

Hollywood comes to Altrincham for movie about Lord of the Rings creator J R R Tolkien

By David Prior at

A new Hollywood movie about Lord of the Rings creator J R R Tolkien has been part-filmed in Altrincham.

The Tolkien biopic, starring BAFTA-nominated actor Nicholas Hoult, tells the story of the author’s early years and how he came to create his iconic works, which also include The Hobbit.

Producers at Fox Searchlight handpicked Tatton Studios in Altrincham as one of their key locations, with war scenes being filmed on one of its 24-acre backlots and interior shots filmed in its green screen studio.

Watch a trailer for the film here:

The studios played host to a cast of 150 WWI soldiers, 30 cavalry horses and a 300-strong crew, which included a dedicated SFX team to manage activity such as night shooting, and construction experts, who spent three months building the battle field.

Filmed on-site between September 2017 and January 2018, Tolkien features a re-enactment of the Battle of the Somme, with producers staging massive explosions and bringing in stage rats to help bring the trenches to life.

Interior shots were filmed in Tatton Studios’ green screen studio

The Tatton team also called on Ashley-based Location Buddha, who facilitated shooting at the studios, and Wainwright TV and Film Services to help build outdoor sets.

Charlie Greenstein, Head of TV and Film at Tatton Locations, said: “Having such a high-profile production on-site was a truly fantastic experience and helped cement our reputation as Manchester and Liverpool’s backlot.

“Thanks to our countryside setting, there’s enormous opportunity for film makers to think big and see us as a major player when looking at options for locations and studios.

Tolkien’s house, as recreated at Tatton Studios in Altrincham

“With Tolkien, our huge hardstanding car park and showground were perfect for the crew to set up a feature film production village, while Showground Four was used to recreate the Battle of the Somme. Our North Range workspace was transformed into a base for the costume department and Ashley Hall was used for a production office.”

Other recent productions to be filmed at the studios – which are based on the Tatton Estate – include Peaky Blinders, The Worst Witch, Bancroft and Coronation Street.

The movie, which also stars actress Lily Collins as the writer’s wife, Edith Bratt, will be released in the UK on 10 May. It’s directed by Dome Karukoski.