Ian McKellen and his "Lord of the Rings" co-star John Rhys-Davies are among the actors lending their voices to Project Northmoor, a crowdfunding charity campaign that seeks to raise funds to buy J.R.R. Tolkien's home on Northmoor Road in North Oxford, England. The home, which is now for sale, is where the author started work on his "Lord of the Rings" franchise. The goal is to not only buy the house but also to turn it into the world's first Tolkien literary center.
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"We cannot achieve this without the support of the worldwide community of Tolkien fans, our fellowship of funders," McKellen says in a video posted December 2 to launch Project Northmoor. The actor and Rhys-Davies are joined in the video by "The Hobbit" star Martin Freeman, "Lord of the Rings" illustrator John Howe, and Annie Lennox, who won the Oscar for Best Original Song with "Into the West" from "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
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Per Entertainment Weekly: "The goal is to raise $6 million, but only $5.3 million is needed to buy the house. In the event $6.1 million is raised, the campaign will fund renovations and restore the garden. If they hit the $6.2 million mark, they can fund a scholarship for those from low-income backgrounds to attend creative courses and special events at the house. A $6.3 million total will fund the building of a hobbit house at the end of the garden."
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"Unbelievably, considering his importance, there is no centre devoted to Tolkien anywhere in the world," Rhys-Davies says in the video. "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."
The crowdfunding campaign is the brainchild of author Julia Golding. "Lord of the Rings" fans have a three-month window to raise the necessary funds or else the home will be sold to other buyers. Watch the full Project Northmoor announcement in the video below.