Believe or not, DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS is well-tread territory when it comes to live-action feature films. Many folks remember the abomination that was the 2000 film, which happened to star acting great Jeremy Irons. Despite this travesty to celluloid, this film was followed by two sequels: one TV film in 2005, and one direct-to-DVD film in 2012 (which wasn't even released stateside). I admittedly can't speak to the quality of the latter two films, but I can agree that the first one wasn't exactly the best interpretation of the source material.
Understandably, as a role-playing game, there are a myriad of directions the tale can go, but at the end of the day, it isn't like a film based on it can be incredibly unique, right? After all, it's just your typical fantasy film, when it comes down to it. In a recent interview with Collider at DICE 2016, producer Roy Lee talked up the upcoming adaptation, showing that they have a very interesting take on the world they'll be showing on film.
“This new DUNGEONS & DRAGONS will be a GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY-tone movie in a Tolkien-like universe. Because when you think of all the HOBBIT movies and THE LORD OF THE RINGS, they have an earnestness to them, and to see something fun, a RAIDERS romp inside that world, I feel is something the audience has not seen before.”
While I don't really have much personal interest in seeing a D&D film come to life, this particular take on the material sounds like it could be a fun ride. Of course, this is assuming they get a director on par with James Gunn, who could help to mesh these two different types of genres. Taking your standard sword and sorcery-type world and imbuing it with an extra kick of action and comedy could be a good time if done right. Lee seems to be banking on the fact that this film will get made, and that it will birth its own cinematic universe.
“I think it will really be moving forward quickly, and I don’t anticipate it not getting greenlit this year, mostly because Warner Bros. has DC now, and LEGO, and the HARRY POTTER universe that’s being cultivated as their franchises. I believe they see DUNGEONS & DRAGONS as something that could be cultivated as a multi-universe movie where there will be spinoffs from the first movie being in Forgotten Realms and subsequent movies being in different worlds.”
Ultimately, if the film ends up being good, Lee's not completely off base here. Our gut instinct to plans like this may illicit a negative knee-jerk reaction, but who knows? THE LEGO MOVIE was a project I had nothing but bad hopes for going into it, and that turned out amazing. As a result, I find it harder and harder to write off projects simply because I think they're silly.
Right now, Lee has a script in-hand written by David Leslie Johnson, who also wrote ORPHAN, and WRATH OF THE TITANS. We'll have to see if it gets the expected greenlight from WB.
What do you think of Lee's vision of a D&D film? Let us know your thoughts down below!