A new Fox Searchlight trailer might have a familiar ring to it, but this journey to Middle-earth comes via the true story of the magical world’s one-of-a-kind creator. Tolkien, in theaters this May, stars Nicholas Hoult as author J.R.R. Tolkien, born in South Africa, raised in England and elevated to immortality on millions of bookshelves around the world with the publications of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Tolkien’s immersive epics and richly realized worlds made his novels international sensations, and his detailed guides to his worlds (with maps, drawings, lore and languages to enhance the depth of the fantasy) inspired modern myth-makers like George Lucas, James Cameron, George R.R. Martin, and, of course, Peter Jackson, who guided Gandalf, Bilbo, Smaugh, and other Tolkien creations to the screen in historic fashion.

The biopic follows the author through a hardscrabble childhood, into the battlefields of WWI and through the corridors of academia where he studied linguistics but eventually became a historian of the unreal. “The hobbits are just what I should like to have been but never was – an entirely unmilitary people who always came up to scratch in a clinch,” John Ronald Reuel Tolkien once said about his creation of the Shire and it’s furry-footed folk.

Tolkien is directed by Dome Karukoski from a script by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford. The film is produced by Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, David Ready and Kris Thykier.

Hoult leads a cast that also features Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Anthony Boyle, Patrick Gibson, Tom Glynn-Carney, Craig Roberts, Laura Donnelly, Genevieve O’Reilly, Pam Ferris and Derek Jacobi.

Fox Searchlight releases Tolkien to theaters on May 10. Check out the trailer above.