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SYFY WIRE Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons directors dig into how film will incorporate 'critical thinking' from tabletop game

By Josh Weiss
Dungeons & Dragons

Adapting video games into feature films has always been a daunting task for Hollywood, so just imagine the difficulties in trying to bring a 46-year-old tabletop RPG to the big screen. It's no easy feat, but writer-directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley will not be shying away from core RPG elements when it comes to their Dungeons & Dragons movie.

"We never wanted to spoof the genre of fantasy or take the piss out of it," Daley told The Hollywood Reporter. "But we did want to find another way into it that we hadn't necessarily seen before. Just the format of Dungeons & Dragons is so interesting and fun and all about critical thinking and thinking on your feet and figuring out ways to make things work after they fall flat. There's a lot of the spirit of that that we're trying to inject into the movie itself."

"We want it to be fun," Goldstein said. "It's not an out-and-out comedy, but it is an action-fantasy movie with a lot of comedic elements and characters we hope people will really get into and enjoy watching their adventures."

Jonathan Goldstein John Francis Daley

The Game Night filmmakers were supposed to start scouting locations in the U.K. back in March, but the growing pandemic made that task impossible. Nevertheless, there's still plenty of movement on the project as Goldstein and Daley have turned in a second draft of the screenplay and participate in weekly conference calls with the studio (Paramount). Storyboards and pre-visualization are also hapening. D&D brand owner Wizards of the Coast remains heavily involved.

"They are the experts," Goldstein continued. "We have people there that we work with and it's pretty helpful, because as much as we know about D&D, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the 45 years of lore that's out there, so these guys are such a resource. If we need a particular spell that a [high]-level wizard could do, they could give us a list. It's a lot of fun."

"I also play a weekly game of Dungeons & Dragons which has now become Zoom games. That is also a fun way to keep your foot in that world as you are writing a movie about it," Daley added.

Produced by Jeremy LatchamDungeons & Dragons will roll the many-sided die in theaters May 27, 2022.