Dungeons & Dragons Movie Reboot In The Works
Recognise this fellow? I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t because that’s Damodar (acted by Bruce Payne) from the best-forgotten Dungeons & Dragons movie back in 2000. While fantasy fans got their Lord of the Rings in the following year, D&D hasn’t seen any justice on the silver screen for over a decade. Question now is: will history repeat itself?
Warner Bros have acquired the rights to produce a film based on the iconic pen-and-paper RPG, an award-winning game that has captured the hearts of millions since 1974. The movie will use a script written by David Leslie Johnson and will be produced by Roy Lee and Courtney Solomon. Therein lies the problem.
David Leslie Johnson’s recent screenplays include Red Riding Hood (2011) and Wrath of the Titans (2012), both of which released to poor reception. While he does have writing credits for AMC’s The Walking Dead, penning an episodic story shouldn’t be compared with a feature-length narrative. Johnson will be using a reworked script of his for the reboot. Titled “Chainmail”, it’s based on and named after the game that helped birth D&D.
Roy Lee is the co-founder of Vertigo Entertainment, a production company known for remaking Asian films for the American market. He’s responsible for The Ring (2002), The Grudge (2004) and My Sassy Girl (2008) among many others. The standout in Lee’s filmography is The Departed (2006), which really owes its success to the cast and director Martin Scorcese.
Finally we come to Courtney Solomon, whose name should be familiar to those slighted at the end of the 20th Century. Solomon was the producer and director of Dungeons & Dragons, a movie that only grossed $33M in total, falling short of its $45M budget.
A production team with a shaky track record isn’t something you want to pair with a rewritten script, especially when it’s about a game dictated by player imagination. Game of Thrones and the Tolkien based movies are wildly successful because they were faithful to the source material, the fans and to the projects themselves. Dungeons & Dragons needs to be given the same amount of time and preparation, but it may already be too late as Warner is “quite far along in the development”.
Perhaps I’m just too bitter over Hollywood’s disappointments. If you’re a D&D fan, I’d love to hear what you think about all this.