Royd Tolkien. Picture: Getty Images

J.R.R. Tolkien's great-grandson, Royd, says expanding The Hobbit into three films is an ambitious move but there's no one better than Sir Peter Jackson to do it.

After seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Tolkien commended Jackson and fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens on their adaptation of the children's book.

"Pete, Fran and Philippa are just great and they're really fans of Tolkien as well, which you'd have to be to take on a task like this . . . and they've got a real knowledge of his work as well," Tolkien said.

"To expand it into three films is brave but, if anyone can do it, those guys can pull it off." The first instalment of the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey doesn't follow the children's book word for word, with the filmmakers drawing on J.R.R. Tolkien's other works to aid the storytelling.

"Obviously there's changes to the book, but it's a different medium so you're going to have to do that sort of thing and, yeah, tricky to do as well," he said.

For the most part, Tolkien lives a relatively normal life in Wales, but every so often, at a fan convention or an event like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey premiere in Wellington, people will recognise him.

"It's great fun and a good laugh, meeting all these people," he said.

"It's kind of weird because he (Tolkien) is my great-grandfather and always has been. I'm kind of used to it and just forget really that I had this incredibly famous great-grandfather."

He said people had asked if his famous ancestry opened doors for him but he insisted it didn't and he wouldn't want it to either.

"I don't expect because I'm related to receive any special treatment or anything like that because, you know, it wasn't my book," he said.

He cites the movie premieres as an exception to that, although those with keen eyes also would have spotted him as an extra in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, where he played a Gondorian ranger.

The trilogy's success didn't really change him. "I just felt more pride," he said, because he was reminded more often about his great-grandfather's achievements.

While Tolkien struggles to choose a favourite out of his great-grandfather's books, The Hobbit is definitely special to him, because it reminds him of his childhood.

He said it was first read to him when he was very little, but he read it of his own accord when he was about nine years old (he read The Lord of the Rings when he was 11).

"When it was read to me, it was the first sort of introduction into that world, so it has those magical memories of a childhood that you love," he said.

"I generally like to read it whenever I feel like I need a good read and a good escape, and that's a great book to do that."

The West Australian

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