Thursday, March 21, 2019

D&D Movie Musings

Yep, they’re making another one. And Paramount could use a successful franchise now that Star Trek is (at least in movie theaters) wallowing in face-plant.

According to The Hashtag Show, things have been off to a bumpy start. They still don’t have a director, though they do appear to have a script they’re happy with. Michael Gilio’s other screenwriting credits pretty much begin and end with Kwik Stop, a quirky little indie film that garnered rave reviews and some awards, apparently. Gilio was called in to “rewrite” a script by David Leslie Johnson whose credits include multiple episodes of The Walking Dead, Wrath of the Titans, and Aquaman.

That implies to me that the script is fairly safe B-list fare (though I haven’t seen Aquaman yet and may be selling it short). This doesn’t exactly change that equation:

Once things get rolling, Paramount hopes to land an actor from the following list of talent: Will Smith, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Matthew McConaughey, Jamie Foxx, Joel Edgerton, Dave Bautista, Jeremy Renner and Johnny Depp.

Seriously?!? No, I don’t think it’s serious; I think they’re trying to raise buzz for the project because about the only thing those actors have in common is that they’re male. Imagine a role you’ve ever seen one of these actors in and try swapping them out. Either the lead is a complete cypher (which doesn’t speak well of the script) or they’re not serious about this list.

If they’re still aiming for a ’21 release, that probably nixes Brolin and Bautista (who will be filming Dune), and, as much as I’d love to see him in this, Vin Diesel (who has a whole slew of projects listed on his IMDB page, including F&F9 and xXx4). Pratt is probably on this list because he’s hot in nerd media right now. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around McConaughey (as much as I loved him in Sahara) or Depp in the lead for this movie. Put a gun to my head and I’d guess that, if this is an actual list of actors they’re looking at, it’ll most likely be Edgerton or Renner, and I’ll bet you Edgerton’s cheaper, so…

(Smith and Foxx would be interesting choices, but if this is a B-list movie, they’d almost certainly be the only non-white character with a name. The script clearly isn’t written to explain who this character is as an outsider in the local dominant culture or we’d see fewer gringos on this list. So yeah, wouldn’t hold my breath for either of those, though they would be interesting choices.)

So, what does that tell us? Well, none of these guys are exactly young; we won’t see some young man in a coming-of-age story here. Most likely, that means our lead is a grizzled human warrior. His primary weapon will be a sword. We’ll probably get a five-man band that includes a comic-relief axe-wielding dwarf as “the Big Guy,” a brash and blond Viking-esque dude with a massive sword who’s an old friend of our hero from way back as “the Lancer,” and a spell-slinger who won’t cast any spells you recognize out of the PHB who will supply exposition as needed in the role as the “Smart Guy” (salt-and-pepper or grey-haired if it is a guy, or a bland, dark-haired ice queen if female).

If the writers know much about D&D and wrote an actual D&D movie, the “Heart” will be a cleric (and the “Lancer” will be an effete warlock who always seems to be on the verge of betraying the party, and you’ll probably replace the dwarf with a half-orc or, if the budget can support it, a dragonborn). That said, it’s probably more reasonable to expect a sword-wielding princess who constantly reminds us that she’s as tough as any man and is also in constant need of rescuing (think Kate Beckinsale in Van Helsing).

Of course, this is the Marvel Age, where LotR and The Hobbit each got green-lighted for their own three-movie deals and comic book movies are both good and summer tent-pole events. So it’s possible I’m completely wrong (possibly even likely), and we’ll end up with something decent. If so, I’ll happily eat crow on this. But, right now, I’m thinking Critical Role’s half-hour cartoon is a much safer bet for a fun D&D movie.

8 comments:

JB said...

Ugh.

trollsmyth said...

JB: Yeah, I think that about sums it up. ;p

Sean Robert Meaney said...

'Paramount hopes to land an actor from the following list of talent: Will Smith, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Matthew McConaughey, Jamie Foxx, Joel Edgerton, Dave Bautista, Jeremy Renner and Johnny Depp.'

How entertaining it would be to have them all.

ruprecht said...

They should hire Joe Manganiello and vin Diesel to act and be producers. Two actors that play D&D would at least ensure the property is respected.

ruprecht said...

I'd always thought it would be fun to have a D&D movie along the lines of the recent Jumanji movie but medieval. Not that the players are trapped in the game but that the characters are sort of divided between player and character personalities: One won't stop with the Holy Grail quotes, another knows the stats of different beasts he's never seen, a third is obviously a newbie and can't make a decision. That sort of thing. Could be a lot of fun as a comedy. They should get Colbert and Dan Harmen to write it up.

trollsmyth said...

Meaney: That could be a fun movie.

ruprecht: You'd think there'd be no excuse to half-ass this, with the popularity of D&D being what it is and the success of the Tolkien franchises and GoT. Thing is, Critical Role has raised 7 million for their cartoon, which is about a fifth of what the original D&D movie cost. That's also barely more than half the third film's budget, which was clearly created by fans of the game but suffered from a direct-to-video budget and a climax that was nothing more than clashing FX.

Wormys_Queue said...

I still think that they need to stop thinking about making a D&D movie, and instead better focus on making a good Realms movie (Realms only because it is the most popular setting in the Roleplaying world, and thanks to novels and games also has a lot of brand recognition). Basically to make me happy, it needs to be a good fantasy film with a compelling story and anything that would remind me of the way the game is usually played would completely distract me from it. So from my perspective, it would probably be better if the movie is directed by someone who has no idea about D&D like, at all. ^^

Anonymous said...

Seriuosly why even consider any of those other names as the lead. Two words: Bruce Campell