Honor Among Thieves Directors Explain Their D&D Approach

The last time a Dungeons & Dragons movie hit theaters in 2000, fans got almost two hours’ worth of cheap special effects, second-rate fight choreography, and Marlon Wayans cracking bad jokes in between fits of high-pitched screaming. Because of this, the franchise has been long overdue for a big-screen redemption story. The jury is still out on whether Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves can achieve that at the end of the month. But if nothing else, co-writers/directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley feel confident that they struck the right tone in order to pull this off.

The film that eventually became Honor Among Thieves famously went through a number of different permutations before Goldstein and Daley signed on. And while speaking with Variety, they shared their thoughts on why it’s taken so long for another D&D flick to get made. Over the years, the pair have made a name for themselves by tackling big franchises with their unique comedic sensibilities. At first glance, they seem like the wrong fit for a big fantasy project. But in the Goldstein’s view, a lot of the game’s fantastical elements lend themselves perfectly to a lighthearted romp.

“Sometimes people take it too seriously and want to embrace the more dramatic elements of it,” explained Goldstein. “To us, that’s ridiculous, because you’ve got literally brains with four legs — you know, creatures that were so obviously written with a wink. On the flip side, if you try to get too goofy with it, you’re also doing it a disservice.”

Both Goldstein and Daley were D&D gamers prior to making the movie. However, it sounds like they were more excited by the prospect of taking the lessons they learned on previous films and applying them to a blockbuster studio tentpole.   

“It was seeing the potential to bring what we had brought to small- and medium-sized movies to a much bigger canvas,” noted Goldstein. “We didn’t want to do a straightforward fantasy epic drama. Nor did we want to do a spoof, or something where the comedy was the lead of it. We wanted to do a movie that was true to the spirit of the game, would appeal to the fans, but also could stand on its own.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves hits theaters on Friday, March 31.

What do you think of the directors’ approach to established D&D mythology? Let us know in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: Dungeons & Dragons: Fell’s Five

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