(NEW ZEALAND) — A fellowship of celebrities have come together for Project Northmoor, a fundraising effort to save the Oxford house in which J.R.R. Tolkien wrote some of the most acclaimed books of all time.
The home at 20 Northmoor, is, “not a particularly attractive house,” Lord of The Rings film series star John Rhys-Davies tells ABC Audio, “but it’s the house that he bought in 1930 and moved his family into and basically the place where he wrote Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.”
The effort is to help create the first center in the world dedicated to the author, who inspired generations of authors, actors, and artists.
Rhys-Davies’ Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series stars, including Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, have taken part in a video to rally fundraising efforts to purchase the home. So have others, Annie Lennox, who wrote and performed the Oscar winning theme “Into the West,” from The Return of the King.
Rhys-Davies, who played Treebeard and Gimli the dwarf in LOTR, says, “…To my knowledge, there is no sort of worldwide center…just dedicated to Tolkien. I mean, his influence is is unparalleled in modern literature!”
Before they decide how best to utilize the seven-bedroom home, located an hour’s drive from London, they’re trying to raise nearly six million dollars to purchase it.
“If you suddenly call it a shrine to Tolkien, you would be engaged in a religious battle. If you call it a museum, you’re in a battle with local authorities. ‘…Have you any idea of the parking difficulties in North Oxford?’ Rhys-Davies quips, imitating a bureaucrat. “Let’s see if we can grab it. And let’s get a little minimal picture of what we might be able to do.”
By Stephen Iervolino
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