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‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Movie Directors on Their Sly Nod to Marvel & Oners

Apr 2, 2023


Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

During Collider’s early screening of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, writers/directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein sat down after the credits rolled for a Q&A with fans. Mediated by our own Steve Weintraub, attendees were privy to tons of behind-the-scenes information and got to ask their own questions, including what class the two filmmakers prefer to play as during their own D&D campaigns, and which of the movie’s ensemble cast they think would make the best Dungeon Master?
COLLIDER VIDEO OF THE DAYSCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
In Honor Among Thieves, Daley and Goldstein bring the classic tabletop game to life with a star-powered party and a menagerie of creatures from D&D lore, using practical effects. The campaign follows Chris Pine as Edgin the Bard, a charming ne’re-do-well who, alongside his friend and partner Holga the Barbarian (Michelle Rodriguez), assembles a rag-tag team of characters to help him steal back an artifact he already stole for a cult of apocalypse harbingers. The movie is a mix of high fantasy and comedy, which Daley tells us was a difficult balance to capture, adding that they believe “there’s room for every subgenre in every genre.” According to Collider’s Carly Lane in her review, this mash-up of genres nails “…a crowd-pleasing combination that respectfully nods at diehard fans while remaining just accessible enough for any newbies.”

With Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves now in theaters, you can check out our semi-spoiler Q&A below. During the chat, Daley and Goldstein talk about the movie’s influences, including Monty Python and Jackie Chan, the art of shooting oners (a favorite of theirs), and how they approach action scenes in order to make them “sexual but brutal.” The duo reveal what scenes required reshoots, what landed on the cutting room floor, the importance of the flashback scenes, and styling Themberchaud (“Chonky”) the dragon after penguins, walruses, and dachshunds. They cover Jurassic Park homages, Easter eggs, out-hotting Chris Pine, their sly nod to Marvel, the four-hour game the cast played together, and tons more!

COLLIDER: So ongrats on the movie. One of the reasons I think this movie is so good is that it works if you don’t know anything about D&D, but if you do know about D&D there are so many things in this. So talk a little bit about the references and balancing, making sure it works for both audiences.

JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN: Well, we went into it knowing that we couldn’t just make a movie for fans, though we wanted to make sure the fans felt seen and that it represented all the knowledge they bring to it. So, as you saw, [there are] a ton of Easter eggs, a lot of stuff from the lore, but we also didn’t want it to be a requirement that you spend years learning the game to come enjoy the movie. And so that was the needle we were threading.

JOHN FRANCIS DALEY: Yeah, I mean, first and foremost, we set out to make a film that we were really proud of. We poured a lot of years of our lives into it. [We] knew that we had to kind of bridge that gap between fans and non-fans alike, but I think what’s so great about D&D is it’s a welcoming game, and if anyone is familiar with it, you know that you don’t have to know a lot about D&D to come to love it. It’s the spirit of the game that makes it special, and that’s definitely what we wanted to emulate in this.

Image via Paramount

So when you guys first started developing the idea of what you wanted to put on screen, to what everyone watched tonight, how much changed along the way?

DALEY: It wasn’t terribly different, honestly. There was a time when Kira (Chloe Coleman) didn’t exist. That was after a round of notes that we did, and then when we brought Chris back, it changed back closer to its original form.

GOLDSTEIN: What’s funny is, he never read the first script that had Edgin having a daughter, we took it out for various reasons. He read it, he said, ‘I feel like I should have a daughter,’ and we were like, ‘Well, we’ve got that draft.’

DALEY: It’s the easiest rewrite in the world.

I love Hugh Grant, and he’s great in this. I’m just curious, was he a tough sell? Talk a little bit about getting him in the movie.

DALEY: I think the title alone was the toughest sell for him. And then, fortunately, when he read the script, he came to love it. I remember that first Zoom that we had with him, [to Goldstein] you do his voice.

GOLDSTEIN: He said, ‘I should tell you, I hate everything I read and I loved your script,’ right? And then he asked his agent, and he said, ‘Which of them is British?’ because he felt it had such a British tone, which is very flattering to us because, you know, we came of age obsessed with Monty Python and that was such an influence on them.

Image via Paramount Pictures

So I really dig the action in this and how it’s very well staged. Can you sort of talk about working with your second unit and putting the sequences on screen?

DALEY: Yeah, I mean, the only good thing to come out of this horrible pandemic was it gave us more time to prepare this film before we started shooting it. And one of those things was animatics and pre-vis and storyboards. And we really were able to curate the sequences in a way that we wouldn’t normally have under your general production schedule. Four years, we’ve been working on this thing, over a year on the script and about two years of prep and shooting, and then another year of post, which is kind of insane considering, you know, generally, that’s with movies like Avatar where you see that schedule. But I think ultimately, we’re so proud and grateful of the extra time that we had to refine it and make it what we wanted.

GOLDSTEIN: And the other thing we did when we approached the action sequences was, it’s sort of a pet peeve of ours when it’s all very close and quick cuts and you can’t really tell what’s going on. And so, we made the decision to shoot it as wide as we could, which requires more of the actors, the stunt team because you have to really choreograph all those moves because you’re going to actually see it play out.

DALEY: We drew a lot of inspiration from Jackie Chan, actually, and his films because you can see what he’s doing. You can see the expertise required to pull off some of those stunts, and that was our mandate with our stunt team, our Bulgarians, and they made it sexual but brutal. Callback.

[Laughs] I asked (producer) Jeremy [Latcham] and the cast and I’ll ask you guys. Almost everyone in the theater knows how the sausage is made when it comes to making movies and television, what do you think would surprise them to learn about the making of this film?

DALEY: I got something. The beatdown at the end that you saw of Sofina (Daisy Head) by the owlbear was technically a reshoot. When we panned off of Sofina, it was originally Sophia’s character, Doric, hitting her with just an owlbear arm, and she flew into a stand of provisions, and it was really unsatisfying. We ultimately decided that was one of those moments where we needed the catharsis of seeing her get her ass kicked. And so, in that whip pan, it was actually a cut, and we were able to bring back the owlbear with a lot of extra salary and we wooed it with salmon.

GOLDSTEIN: She’s tough, her agent’s really tough, that owlbear. And just to add to that and talk about movie magic, when we did these reshoots, we shot in L.A. Most of it was shot in Belfast, but the reshoots were done on the Paramount lot, and with blue screen and the technology we have now we were able to blend into what we had already shot back in Belfast, and it’s seamless. You can’t tell what was here, what was there.

DALEY: We’re generally allergic to overuse of blue screen, but this was one of those moments where we couldn’t rebuild the back lot, and we have these perfect tiles, is what they call it, where they basically take pictures of the set that we had in Belfast, and we were able to redo it.

GOLDSTEIN: And if you look really closely, Chris’s hair was totally different when we did the reshoots, we had to wig him. And so you can see that there’s a little bit of wigging in the reshoot part.

Image via Paramount

I learned that where you shot, you took over the stages of Game of Thrones.

GOLDSTEIN: That’s right, and “stage” is a generous word for what those things are. They were paint halls used to build the Titanic and other ships because that’s what Belfast did for a hundred years. And, you know, they were massively tall, but unheated, really rudimentary boxes that we shot in.

DALEY: And the back lot was King’s Landing, but as you recall if you’ve seen the show, King’s Landing gets destroyed in the last episode. So, we rebuilt it–

GOLDSTEIN: We thought we were getting King’s Landing. Yeah, we got this totally demolished, shitty back lot with fire burns all over it.

So I’m fascinated by the editing process because it’s where it all comes together. The first question is, did you have a much longer director’s cut? How did you end up with the length that everyone watched tonight?

DALEY: Well, when you first do a movie, you get an editor’s assembly. So while you’re shooting, the editor is simultaneously putting all of the scenes together very roughly. And our amazing editor, Dan Lebental, who’s worked with our producer, Jeremy Latcham – who is sitting right there, raise your hand, Jeremy. By the way, Jeremy really was incredibly helpful and we owe so much of this film to him and his perseverance and dedication. He was very much the cheerleader and he’s a man of all trades.

GOLDSTEIN: He’s not at all sexual or brutal.

DALEY: [Laughs] He can be brutal. But, Jeremy came up under Marvel and had been with Marvel since Iron Man, and so knows a thing or two about big-budget movies and how to do them. And so basically, we had this editor’s assembly that was over three hours and we cut it down to a director’s cut that was about two-and-a-half hours. And ultimately, we got it down to a tight two hours and 11 or so minutes.

I like knowing about deleted scenes, so did you have a lot of deleted scenes or did you sort of cut the fat out of the scenes you had?

GOLDSTEIN: Mostly it was trimming down what we had. There were a couple of scenes that made it to the floor [of] the cutting room. There was a scene when they leave the tavern in the very beginning, and Holga gets kind of harangued by members of her former tribe, other barbarians who, you know, call her names and stuff. And she sadly says, ‘They’re not wrong.’ And it was an effort to kind of build more sympathy for her, but ultimately, we felt like, ‘Let’s get to the action.’ That’s always the tension in these kinds of movies is, you want to build in all the things you need, all the pieces you need so that people feel for the characters, but you really want to get the story going.

What was the last thing you took out of the film before you picture locked? I know it was probably a year ago.

GOLDSTEIN: Jeremy?

JEREMY LATCHAM: I think the last thing we took out of the picture was a joke where Simon says, ‘So that’s Marlowman,’ and Doric says, ‘I thought he’d be…’

DALEY: Right, and then Simon says, ‘He’s quite tall for a halfling,’ which was a cute joke– [To audience] Oh, you laughed, alright we’re gonna put it back in. Can we postpone the release date? And then aside from that, very small, surgical trims that if I told you what they were, you’d be asleep by the end of them.

GOLDSTEIN: Directors who we like gave us this bit of advice early in our career, which we really took to heart, which is, ‘It’s always better to kill your B material to make your A material sing even more.’ And so, there’s stuff that we love and we keep in right up until we’re getting close to locking, and then we’re like, ‘Alright, let’s let that go,’ because pacing is everything.

Image via Paramount/Empire

I really loved the reincarnating the dead stuff. So who wants to take some props for coming up with that idea?

DALEY: Well, that was probably the only vestige of the original draft that we ended up rewriting that can see. Granted, it was only one or two corpses that they bring back to life, but we thought it was such a fun idea and way to kind of structurally tell the story of these flashbacks. So in industry terms, we blew it out, meaning we had a lot more corpses, a lot more deaths, and that allowed us to have the guy falling in the tub and all of those fun feats.

GOLDSTEIN: Our original idea was to have the Monty Python guys voice those corpses, but for a number of reasons, it didn’t come to pass.

DALEY: Most of those reasons are money.

GOLDSTEIN: And some of them are dead. It’s true.

I messed it up today when I was doing some interviews, what’s the name of the big red dragon?

GOLDSTEIN: Themberchaud.

Yeah, I called him “Chunky,” or something like that on camera because I think one of you posted a thing–

GOLDSTEIN: I said “Chonky.”

DALEY: Which is what the kids are saying apparently. But Themberchaud actually exists in the lore, and he was this gluttonous dragon – I see some heads nodding. You’re a geek [laughs]. But yeah, I mean, what’s so great about D&D is that [there are] so many characters, so many creatures that exist that you can pull exactly what you need from. And it helps to kind of craft a story that felt authentic to the story.

Was there a creature or character that you really wanted to put in this movie, but just couldn’t find a way to fit it?

GOLDSTEIN: Well, interestingly… So the Jonathan bit at the beginning, our first idea for it was that it was gonna be an ooze.

DALEY: A half ooze, which doesn’t exist.

GOLDSTEIN: Which isn’t a thing. So we’re trying to figure out, ‘Okay, what if a member of this Absolution Council was a partial ooze character?’ He would come in the door and they would grab him, and they would tie part of him to a table leg and jump out of a window.

DALEY: And bungee jump down.

GOLDSTEIN: He would stretch. But ultimately, the people at [Wizards of the Coast] told us that’s not a thing.

DALEY: It probably would have been too silly, too, in the first five minutes of the film.

I’m sure there were some battles behind the scenes. What was something that you had to fight for to keep in the movie?

DALEY: Do we say it? Xenk jumping over the rock. I’m not saying who we fought with!

GOLDSTEIN: There was a certain concern on the part of certain studios on certain movies that if [there are] too many jokes – tell me if you agree with this – if [there are] too many jokes in a movie, it hurts the stakes and the audience checks out and doesn’t care about what’s happening. That’s not a thing, right? You can hold two things in your head at the same time. They are good jokes.

So anyway, that was one where they felt like, ‘No, he should just exit…’

DALEY: We’re gonna get fired.

GOLDSTEIN: They can’t fire us now!

DALEY: That said, we were incredibly supported by both studios, [Entertainment One] and Paramount, throughout this whole endeavor, who really allowed us to make the film that we wanted to make. So, props to them.

Image via Paramount

Being serious, you did make this with Paramount, Wizards of the Coast, and EOne. There were a lot of people that you had to please to make your movie. Can you talk about what it’s like behind the scenes trying to make everyone happy while also trying to make a movie?

DALEY: It was a bit of a headache, but I will say this–

GOLDSTEIN: Again, thank you to Paramount.

DALEY: Look, what you saw there was very much our vision, and it’s a big swing. And so we give them all the credit in the world for allowing us to use practical effects, which by the way, studios don’t usually want that and they let us do it, and that I think really helped to differentiate us from a lot of the big-budget fare that you see in theaters nowadays. As well as this incredibly unique and bizarre tone that we were allowed to do.

GOLDSTEIN: They let us do jokes that cost, like, $1 million dollars. The intellect joke, that’s an expensive joke.

One of the things that I think the film does so well is it balances the fun with the funny and the action, and that’s a really difficult tone to hit and make it all work. So talk a little bit about finding that in the editing room. Was it all the script?

DALEY: Well, I would say that one of the things that allowed us to do that, the glue that kind of fused all those things together, was heart. We approached this very earnestly, we were not cynical about this. We care deeply about the material and the world that we’re trying to show people who aren’t necessarily familiar with it, and if you care and are invested in your characters, you can get away with a lot. And that’s kind of what we did.

So you did friends and family screenings, test screenings, or both. What did you learn from those screenings that impacted the finished film?

GOLDSTEIN: The first thing we learned was there was confusion about what the villains were up to. So all the flashbacks where you see what Szass Tam did back in the day with the Beckoning Death, that was reshoot material. Because obviously there’s a lot going on with what Sofina is up to, what’s that got to do with Forge, and all that. So we didn’t want the audience to get caught up in trying to follow that and be confused. So that was a way of just sort of spelling it out in a clear way that was fun visually, too.

DALEY: It also allowed us to kind of amplify the threat of the baddies. We didn’t want to ever undermine what the overarching threat of the bigger baddies in the movie we’re doing.

GOLDSTEIN: There was also something we changed, which was interesting. At the end, when they’re on the boat and they make that decision to go back and help Neverwinter, we had written it so that it takes Edgin longer to make that turn.

DALEY: A lot up until he says, ‘Well, shit.’

GOLDSTEIN: He said something like, ‘Oh, what a shame.’

DALEY: And then Kira’s like, ‘Well, aren’t we going to go back?’ He’s like, ‘Oh, no, no, I’m sure there are plenty of other heroic types who can handle it.’ But it was ultimately kind of a bummer, and we could see that we were losing the audience with that. So, we decided to be a little more concise with his decision, make him a little more heroic in that moment.

Image via Paramount Pictures

I love dragon sequences in TV and movies, and you have a great one in this with Themberchaud. So talk a little bit about the challenge of creating your own dragon sequence and how much time and energy you put into it.

GOLDSTEIN: Well, the way we approach action sequences is always kind of the way we approach comedy sequences, which is, what can we do that’s not been seen before? How do we make this fresh? You’ve certainly seen people run from dragons and lots of things. So we thought, ‘Alright, so what is gonna make this different?’ And the first beat was, it flopping down like a penguin and sliding after them.

DALEY: We watched a lot of reference videos of animals for this including walruses, massive dachshunds…

GOLDSTEIN: We gave our VFX vendors a video of a very fat dog caught on its back trying to flip over.

DALEY: Using its spine to flip itself over, which was partly what inspired what we call the Jurassic Park shot. Yeah, there are a few homages to Jurassic Park, including the very beginning when Gorg the hobgoblin was being carted in. I mean, that’s the love letter to my favorite filmmaker, [Steven Spielberg], who truly inspired me to make movies.

GOLDSTEIN: Steven, are you here tonight? He said he was coming.

DALEY: [Laughs] But yeah, it’s a lot of moving parts. We had an amazing storyboard artist, David Krentz, who helped work with us on that, and who worked on multiple Marvel scenes with Jeremy. Basically, we knew we wanted to chew up the scenery. We had these incredible big platforms suspended by chains, and we thought it would be fun to disrupt those. We basically took advantage of every inch of the setting that we had.

AUDIENCE: Thanks for putting the TV series characters in the movie. Did they die, or did they–?

GOLDSTEIN: No, come on.

DALEY: We like to allude to the fact that they might die, but we kept it open.

GOLDSTEIN: There’s a deleted scene where they die horribly [laughs].

Who here has seen the cartoon and understands the reference and who needs it to be explained?

GOLDSTEIN: It was news to me, I guess I’m at the age where I’d never noticed it.

We should also say where the scene is in the movie.

GOLDSTEIN: Yeah, in the arena you see these oddly-clad figures, there are two teams with them and they’re off to the left. They’re from a cartoon series.

DALEY: The people wearing the most absurd outfits, that’s why we didn’t show them very well.

GOLDSTEIN: What we learned – because we went to Brazil for their Comic-Con in São Paulo, and they love that series down there. People went crazy for it, and in England, too.

DALEY: As well as in the UK, yeah. I remember all of our crew were so delighted to see those ‘80s characters.

AUDIENCE: So, as a player who has actually used an aarakocra unwillingly to jump off a cliff to save myself, I felt so seen.

GOLDSTEIN: We did not steal it from you. There’s no way we could have known that.

AUDIENCE: By the way, I wanted to ask because high fantasy movies are really hard to sell, I think especially now in our modern kind of situation. How hard was this pitch to actually get off the ground, and how long did that take?

DALEY: I mean, the movie had been kicking around for over a decade long before we became involved. I think the thing that was difficult was nailing down the tone, and when we approached it we knew we wanted there to be comedic elements. I know that can piss off some people because they treat high fantasy as nothing but solemn and serious, but we think that there’s room for every subgenre in every genre. And so we definitely leaned into that element.

AUDIENCE: You talked about how you were able to get Hugh Grant on board. You have an amazing cast, top to bottom. Can you talk a little bit about how you were able to put together this team?

GOLDSTEIN: One of the things that we’ve always been fortunate enough to do is to– you know, your script is a sales tool in many ways because the movie is not gonna get made if you don’t get a cast that can get it green-lit. And so we try to write the script in a way that actors are gonna read it and be, ‘Alright.’ This is intriguing to them. And part of that is giving every character something to do, an arc, and we really tried to do that here. So everybody saw an opportunity to do some fun acting in it.

Chris was a process. I mean, he read it, we talked several times, we talked about what it could be, and then he signed on, and then other people followed.

DALEY: We had a lot of actors and actresses in mind as we were developing it. We were huge fans of Justice Smith, and so he was one of our first pitches for Simon, and we didn’t even know if he could pull off the accent. But what was really gratifying was, Hugh actually thought he was British, which was great.

GOLDSTEIN: And Regé was sort of a no-brainer. You know, we loved the idea of out-hotting Chris. And when we cast Regé, he didn’t quite know his work or anything, and we showed him a picture of Regé, and Chris was like, ‘Come on!’

Image via Paramount Pictures

AUDIENCE: So in terms of the practical effects and the studios being kind of resistant to them, is that just, like, pure budget dollar amount? Is that the time that they can add to do it well, is it liability? Can you talk about what’s the opposition and how you overcome it?

DALEY: It requires a lot more prep. And I think some studios, not this one because they were for it from the beginning, but some studios resist it because it requires you to have that aesthetic set in stone. Whereas, if you’re doing an entirely CG character, you can change it and change it and change it and change it. We had the confidence from the studio to go for it.

GOLDSTEIN: I think there’s an attitude among some studios that if you do a practical effect, you’re just gonna end up replacing it with a digital one.

DALEY: And that happens a lot, by the way, but we didn’t do that here.

AUDIENCE: When and how did you get the idea for the movie?

DALEY: Good question. Well, there was a script that had been floating around before we became involved. Granted, we changed a good amount of it, but the thing that was really alluring to us was the idea of it being a heist. We thought that that was a really relatable genre to kind of explore in the fantasy space that we don’t usually see, and it also feels very D&D. And so we kind of went from there.

We pitched our take. One of the earliest sequences that we pitched was the Doric chase – that oner that we have with our Wild Shape druid – because we thought it would be a really immersive thing. Also, we love doing oners, we did it in Game Night with the Fabergé egg. And so, that was one of the many sequences that we were pitching with the general idea of the story surrounding it.

GOLDSTEIN: You know, it really was a reflection of the spirit of playing the game. That’s what we wanted to get across without rolling dice, without doing a Jumanji thing, just to kind of feel what it’s like when you’re playing D&D that you never know what’s gonna happen. You make mistakes, you roll badly, things go wrong, and you have to figure out what you’re gonna do next. And that’s what we tried to capture in the movie.

By the way, for everyone in the audience, if you haven’t seen Game Night, for the love of God, watch it this weekend. It’s really good.

DALEY: Thank you.

AUDIENCE: So, speaking of playing D&D, did you do it at all during production?

GOLDSTEIN: We did.

DALEY: Yeah, we did.

GOLDSTEIN: Well, once we got going there’s no time for anything, but when the cast first arrived in Belfast, we did a four-hour game with them. We had a Dungeon Master from Seattle on Zoom, and it was really helpful, actually. Almost as helpful as rehearsing because they played as their characters. We got to see them in motion. They got to feel what it is to play, and it informs some of the things that went in the movie.

Image via Paramount Pictures

AUDIENCE: Piggy-backing off of them. But first, as someone who saw the old movie in the ‘90s, thank you so much. You have redeemed it in so many ways. But also, of the cast, who would make the best Dungeon Master, and why?

DALEY: I would say Regé because he is secretly very geeky, and I think he would do his homework. He played a lot of RPGs, not necessarily Dungeons & Dragons, but I think he has a real sense for that type of storytelling. And then, behind him, definitely Chris who is a director and an incredible storyteller himself.

AUDIENCE: I noticed in the credits someone credited as “Lore Master.” Is that a typical role in production?

GOLDSTEIN: Yes, every movie has that [laughs]. No, in our efforts to be true to the game, we had someone on set, like when you’re doing a medical show, you know, and you need to know what the surgery is. We would have someone whisper in our ear, like, ‘She can’t do that spell.’ If we were really true to the game, they would have had to rest between spells, and that’s not the greatest thing to watch.

AUDIENCE: One of the things that I wanted to know is, what was the most challenging scene that you guys had to do? And then the second thing is, what was the funnest scene that you guys had to do?

GOLDSTEIN: Two scenes come to mind that were the most challenging. One was that portal heist of getting the painting into the wagon, and the other was the Doric oner where she’s changing from animal to animal. Both took many days to shoot, they were done in many different locations. Some of it was on set, some of it was out in the world. Even just the piece where Sophia Lillis comes out of that little cabin and puts the hood over her horns. It turns out it’s really hard to put a hood over your horns, and that took about 25 takes just to get.

DALEY: And when you think about the sheer amount of extras in that scene and the resets that we had to do, it became a little mind-numbing by the end of the night.

I would say that one of the most fun scenes was anything between Chris and Regé. They had such a fun dynamic, and Regé inhabited that role so naturally that it was some of the most fun that we had just laughing behind the monitors.

GOLDSTEIN: Yeah, the walking away that became the rock joke, we had 100 alts for that. We had a whole thing where Chris is like, ‘Where is he even going? Is there anything in that direction? I think it’s a dead end.’

I’m actually curious, with the oner, what is it like when you decide you want to do one of those? Jeremy is the producer, do you have to go to Jeremy and say, ‘I think we should do this as a oner, what’s this gonna cost?’ How does that get figured out?

DALEY: Well, like we said earlier, it was literally one of the first sequences that we even pitched to the studio. And I think it’s part of what got us the job because it’s an inherently immersive experience, and any time you’re being pursued in that sense, it makes it all the more fraught and scary as an audience member.

But a lot went into it. You know, we probably regretted it many times over the course of the shooting of it because there was never a moment where it was entirely digital. We shot tons of plays, we shot tons of real material that we ended up putting our MPC, which is the VFX vendor, animals in it. And then kept redoing and redoing and redoing it. It was also a lot of second unit that we had to do for some of that because we were shooting first unit simultaneously, but they did an amazing job, I think, of just being able to fuse it all together. There are still some effects that we are like, ‘Ehh,’ but that’s just inherent in filmmaking.

Image via Paramount Pictures

But I am curious though, is the oner something that you look at in terms of costs and what will it cost to do this versus not doing this?

GOLDSTEIN: Not really, we didn’t approach it that way. I mean, look everything in this movie is expensive. We approach it from what’s gonna be the freshest, most fun way to pick this bit of action, and that just lent itself to a oner.

DALEY: Yeah, and the question is, ‘Is it worth it?’ And to us it was.

Oh, it’s a great shot. By the way, does everyone know what a oner is?

AUDIENCE: Can you explain?

DALEY: A oner is basically a one-shot take, if you will. So rather than cutting into a sequence, you’re at least giving the illusion that it’s all happening without any cuts.

GOLDSTEIN: Usually, nowadays, it’s actually multiple takes divided up and blended.

DALEY: But we didn’t do that.

GOLDSTEIN: Those animals were all real.

AUDIENCE: Was anything in the script inspired by any of the real-life campaigns that you guys played in your youth, or anything like that?

DALEY: In a campaign that I was playing right before we actually– I had to stop it to do the film. There was one moment where our party was stuck on a platform over a bottomless pit with cables kind of connecting it to the wall, and that’s what ultimately led to the idea of that dungeon in the Underdark being suspended by giant chains. And it was just an attempt to kind of make it a little bit more unique, and also be able to make it go to hell when Themberchaud rolls onto it.

AUDIENCE: When you mentioned that Jeremy came from Marvel, the Great Owl, was that the Loki/Hulk…?

DALEY: Maybe… [Laughs]

AUDIENCE: Favorite class to play as?

GOLDSTEIN: Bard.

DALEY: Paladin.

AUDIENCE: What age were you when you felt like your career was really kicking off?

DALEY: 14 years old when I got Freaks and Geeks.

AUDIENCE: I noticed you were credited as the songwriter for the songs. How hard was that, and have you ever done that before?

GOLDSTEIN: We love writing song lyrics. We can’t take credit for the music part of it, but, yeah, had we done that? We did that in another thing, right?

DALEY: Yeah, we did in another movie, but it’s one of our favorite things to do. We love to rhyme, we’re rappers.

AUDIENCE: Did you guys ever consider, at the end of the film, cutting to an actual campaign that went over all the events of the movie?

DALEY: I feel like if we did that, we would have undermined all of the stakes that we set up to that moment. But it was definitely something that we talked about, and then we saw Jumanji.

AUDIENCE: Portal inspired by Portal gun?

GOLDSTEIN: Look, it’s one of my favorite games. In fact, I’m replaying it now. Kind of, but you know, the color is different, so no.

AUDIENCE: Was the setting always going to be in the Forgotten Realms, or did you look at other D&D campaign settings?

DALEY: We were always circling it, and we always loved the idea of doing it on the Sword Coast because it has so many diverse locations and it’s what people are most familiar with.

Image via Paramount

AUDIENCE: The animated D&D characters, I noticed they’re a little older than they are in the cartoon. Are you saying they were stuck there for a long time?

GOLDSTEIN: It was practically difficult to have a real kid play that Bobby the Barbarian, to play this short muscly man.

DALEY: It also felt cruel to imply that we were about to kill a bunch of children.

GOLDSTEIN: People frown on that.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is in theaters now. For more D&D, check out our non-spoiler interview with Daley, Goldstein, and producer Jeremy Latcham below.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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