Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, co-writers on the Spider-Man: Homecoming film, are in talks to replace the exiting Chris McKay, director of The LEGO Batman Movie, as directors for Paramount’s planned Dungeons & Dragons film.
The pair co-wrote 2011’s Horrible Bosses and co-directed both 2015’s Vacation and 2018’s Game Night. They recently exited Warner Brothers upcoming Flash movie. Daley is also well known as an actor, starting his career on TV in Freaks and Geeks and more recently co-starring as psychologist Lance Sweets on seasons four through ten of the hit TV show Bones.
With the increasing popularity of online live broadcasts of Dungeons & Dragons games for shows such as Critical Role and Saving Throw, Paramount hopes to make this movie a success. The hit Netflix series Stranger Things has also brought the game back into popular news again.
The first Dungeons & Dragons movie was released in 2000 and was a box office failure, with a Rotten Tomatoes critical rating of 10% and a 20% audience score. It was followed by the slightly better received Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God movie released in 2005 with a 30% viewer rating. There was also a made for television movie released in 2012, Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness. The title was based on the source books available for the game at that time. This was also ignored by most critics and only received a 28% audience score.
I was one of the fans who lined up at The Regency Bruin theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles for the midnight premiere of the original Dungeons & Dragons movie in 2000. Hopes were high, but only stunned silence greeted the first half hour or so of what spooled onto the screen that night. However, soon everyone got into the spirit of the thing and loudly heckled the movie and every scene, especially when Jeremy Irons shamelessly chewed up the scenery in his role as the film’s villain. In the end, we all had fun, and gaming fans can still have a lot of fun watching this train wreck of a movie, but deep down we still want the real thing: a great D&D movie.
With well-known names such as Joe Manganiello (original 2000 Spider-Man movie, True Blood), Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood, Netflix’s Daredevil series) and Sam Witwer (the CW’s Supergirl) out there actively promoting the Dungeons & Dragons game, one can only hope some of these gaming fans who also happen to be good actors will be cast in the movie. Goldstein & Daley have a decent track record so far, Spider-Man: Homecoming being a true highlight, so let’s hope they can achieve cinema gold with what could finally be a great Dungeons & Dragon movie.