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General Spider-Man: Homecoming Writers Talk D&D Movie

Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley talked to Hollywood Reporter about the D&D movie, it's comedic themes, and how the directors are working directly with WotC.

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They directed Game Night, and wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming. They mentioned that they had been supposed to fly here to the UK to scout locations in March, but the pandemic interrupted that.

They also mentioned comedic elements and characters in the movie, which currently has a projected release date of May 27th, 2022. No actors are yet cast.

It's not an out and out comedy, but it is an action-fantasy movie with a lot of comedic elements and characters we hope people will really get into and enjoy watching their adventures.


Daley plays a weekly D&D game, so he is familiar with the genre. But the pair are working directly with WotC.

We haven't been accosted by players yet, but we are working with the Wizards of the Coast, the brand holders of D&D. They are the experts. We have people there that we work with and it's pretty helpful, because as much as we know about D&D, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the 45 years of lore that's out there, so these guys are such a resource. If we need a particular spell that a [high]-level wizard could do, they could give us a list. It's a lot of fun.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Snarf Zagyg

Thrall of Coot.
When Iron Man was made RDJ was not considered to be at the "height of his powers" - he was considered a washed up liability. That's how they where able to afford him for a relatively low budget (compared to what followed) movie. But like the character he played he pulled himself together and made good.
I think we need to be careful to separate two different issues.

RDJ famously was having problems getting cast in movies because of liability issues at that time. When you are making a movie, you normally have to get insurance on your biggest star; for example, if you are making Mission Impossible 32 with Tom Cruise, you need insurance in case he dies 3/4 of the way through filming.

But he was still well-known as an incredible actor despite those issues. We forget this now, but prior to Iron Man he was in Gothika, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, A Scanner Darkly, Zodiac, and he was shooting Tropic Thunder (!) at the same time where, of course, he played a great actor.

His charisma, star power, comedic chops- all of it was well known then! He had been on a long comeback trail for the five years prior to Iron Man (starting when ... this is hard to believe now ... Mel Gibson paid his bond so he could star in the Singing Detective(!!!!)).

But there was tension in casting him; Marvel didn't want to take a chance on him given he was only five years or so sober, while Favreau demanded him because he was by far the most talented actor they could get on that budget.

....you always need that little bit of luck. It's the difference between Depp in the first Pirates, and Eddie Murphy in Haunted Mansion (or, for that matter, Depp in Lone Ranger).
 

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And if they did use authentic 19th century English, you wouldn't be able to understand them at all.
Speak for yourself, mate, I certainly could, and yes that includes accounting for extreme regional accents. The idea that intelligent people routinely actually couldn't understand each other (rather than just being snobs and reverse-snobs about it) in the 1800s is absolute nonsense. Extremely thick accents and heavy use of local argot will slow communication but they won't prevent it absolutely, which is what you are saying with "wouldn't be able to understand them at all" (I will admit that I am unusually good at penetrating accents, but I'm hardly alone in this). Authentic 1300s English would be much, much more challenging, perhaps not really viable with accents in the mix too. And 1100s? Well it's not even really English at that point and yes that would be worse than if they were say, speaking Italian now (I don't speak Italian, but French and Latin would let me get more of it than I could 1100s English).

All that said it is a total red herring, I agree with you there. There's no chance the movie will be in anything other than modern English, nor should it be.
 

Speak for yourself, mate, I certainly could, and yes that includes accounting for extreme regional accents. The idea that intelligent people routinely actually couldn't understand each other (rather than just being snobs and reverse-snobs about it) in the 1800s is absolute nonsense.
"Intelligent" is often used as a synonym for "educated", like wot we are. But a lot of people where very poorly educated back then.
Extremely thick accents and heavy use of local argot will slow communication but they won't prevent it absolutely
Well, no, my inability to speak French doesn't prevent me communicating with French people absolutely.
, which is what you are saying "wouldn't be able to understand them at all" (I will admit that I am unusually good at penetrating accents, but I'm hardly alone in this).
It's different when you are trying to watch a movie though. In real life communication, you can ask someone to slow down or repeat. I find some American accents very difficult to follow on film and TV.
 

patoace

Explorer
I'd say, do the ironman: start small, do a good casting, love your characters, do not setup sequels or a bigger world, and you should be fine.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I'll say that even though they wrote Homecoming, that doesn't mean a lot; it's really the director that determines whether a script translates well.

But they directed Game Night, and that was a very fun movie!
 

Snarf Zagyg

Thrall of Coot.
Some might argue that casting Depp as Jack Sparrow was skill, casting Depp as Tonto was a failed skill roll.
Well, putting aside the insensitivity of it, it speaks to a larger point.

It is easy to see why something works in retrospect; it is much to hard to understand that it will work (or fail) prospectively. The portrayal of Jack Sparrow is iconic, but also ... well, I mean, a movie based off of a theme park ride, with a washed-up Johnny Depp playing a drunken bisexual pirate channeling Keith Richards?

Sometimes you have great casts and the movie doesn't work (look at the original Casino Royal, which is a murderer's row of talent and a terrible movie). Sometimes you have a great script and other choices torpedo the movie (for example, the original movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Sometimes you have very specific choices that can either elevate a movie or destroy it, depending on the viewers; for example, people in this thread have been discussing anachronisms, but a lot of the brilliance (or disaster) of some of Baz Luhrmann's best films come from deliberate anachronism (R+J, Gatsby, Moulin Rouge).

If people knew what would work, they would always do it.
 
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OB1

Jedi Master
"The challenge is to approach it as you would a much smaller movie, and not get caught up in the fact that you have $100 million-plus to spend and start thinking about the biggest set pieces you can construct. Rather, focus on the stuff that makes it special and makes an audience invest — and that's the characters. That's in the stuff you don't need a lot of money to do right. That's how we approached The Flash and that's how we're approaching D&D."

This is what I really, really wanted to hear. It's not a guarantee that the movie won't suck--there are no such guarantees; the vast majority of movies suck, any movie that doesn't is bucking the odds--but it means there is a greater likelihood of it not sucking, and a possibility that it will be awesome.
Yep, it takes both a lot of talent and no small amount of luck to make even a decent movie, much less a great one.

Making a Movie (Group Performance Check, take average)

Decent Movie - DC15
Good Movie - DC20
Great Movie - DC30
 

"Intelligent" is often used as a synonym for "educated", like wot we are. But a lot of people where very poorly educated back then.
I don't know if education is really the main factor here. I'm not using it as a synonym myself. Education lets me know Latin and speak French. But I know plenty of better-educated people who can't handle accents. Whereas I know I can handle accents. I think it's more about how many accents you've encountered and lived with.

And that's a major difference now - sure, TV and so on has flattened out accents - I can see this over my own lifetime - but if you've encountered a lot of accents, especially thick ones, you deal more easily with new ones, and TV and other sources expose people to a lot of accents. I think my main edge here might be having parents who were Scottish and Northern respectively, and yet growing up in a diverse part of London. I don't think education helped much there (broader vocabulary and more familiarity with archaic words and root words, maybe).

Also, we're not talking about "back then". We're talking about me (or other people here) understanding people speaking in 1800s accents and verbiage now. I just don't think it would be that challenging. There would be some people who would just bounce off it. But there are people now who claim they can't understand Rab C. Nesbitt, who isn't actually hard to understand if you just listen, and perhaps have the mind for it.

I accept that some people would be all "BWUUUUH?!" because some people are like that about the most tepid accents, but I think a lot of us would be fine.

Well, no, my inability to speak French doesn't prevent me communicating with French people absolutely.
Sure, but what I'm saying is, I don't believe that there's any major 1800s British accent that I outright couldn't understand far better than any foreign language. Maybe if we found someone from a particularly weird part of the Highlands, or the Outer Hebrides (not really Britain anyway), or some weird little village with a unique accent you could, but no 1800s accent with more than, say, 20,000 speakers, is going to flummox me.

Again I accept they will flummox some people... many people even. Maybe I'm just being "triggered" as they say here lol? As you go further back it will get progressively harder. 1700s English is clearly trickier, and whilst Shakespeare is easy (and that is in part thanks to education), I bet 1600s would be getting kinda a tough, and by 1300s it will be extremely hard (until you tune in, which won't happen in a movie).

It's different when you are trying to watch a movie though. In real life communication, you can ask someone to slow down or repeat. I find some American accents very difficult to follow on film and TV.
I don't find any US accents hard to follow at all (including Southern and Appalachian and so on). Or Canadian, or Australian, or New Zealand. I'm now wondering if I'm a freak of nature and circumstance though.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
There are a couple of British Isles accents that can be murder to follow if you aren't familiar with them A really thick Geordie accent for example.
 

Birmy

Adventurer
When Iron Man was made RDJ was not considered to be at the "height of his powers" - he was considered a washed up liability. That's how they where able to afford him for a relatively low budget (compared to what followed) movie. But like the character he played he pulled himself together and made good.
I'm glad you pointed this out; it's easy to see what a good decision it was in retrospect, but Downey was very much a gamble at the time.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I'm glad you pointed this out; it's easy to see what a good decision it was in retrospect, but Downey was very much a gamble at the time.
As Zagyg above has mentioned, this isn't quite true.

He'd done several critically acclaimed and financially successful works in the years after out of rehab - he wasn't washed up. But, his contracts were regularly holding back something like 40% of his pay as a guarantee of him staying sober and continuing to do the job.

RDJ was a risk, but not from the perspective of his talent.
 

Mercurius

Legend
The implication was that it would not be possible for fantasy characters to speak modern American English without using modern day slang.

But it's fine for them to use English English slang (see GoT Wildlings), since the largely American audience would not know it was slang.
Again, this isn't what I'm saying or implying. I have no issue with them speaking American English. I'm just hoping that the characters speak as characters of the world itself, not as D&D players.
 

I just want something good, not cringe worthy. I don't need MCU level success, and if the studio is shooting for that, we are doomed. Make a good movie.
 


Jaeger

Adventurer
Again, this isn't what I'm saying or implying. I have no issue with them speaking American English. I'm just hoping that the characters speak as characters of the world itself, not as D&D players.
I agree.

The Spartacus TV series is a good example of writers having the characters speak modern English, but in an anachronistic sounding way that was still very intelligible to the viewers and helped with genre immersion.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I don't know if education is really the main factor here. I'm not using it as a synonym myself. Education lets me know Latin and speak French. But I know plenty of better-educated people who can't handle accents. Whereas I know I can handle accents. I think it's more about how many accents you've encountered and lived with.

And that's a major difference now - sure, TV and so on has flattened out accents - I can see this over my own lifetime - but if you've encountered a lot of accents, especially thick ones, you deal more easily with new ones, and TV and other sources expose people to a lot of accents. I think my main edge here might be having parents who were Scottish and Northern respectively, and yet growing up in a diverse part of London. I don't think education helped much there (broader vocabulary and more familiarity with archaic words and root words, maybe).

Also, we're not talking about "back then". We're talking about me (or other people here) understanding people speaking in 1800s accents and verbiage now. I just don't think it would be that challenging. There would be some people who would just bounce off it. But there are people now who claim they can't understand Rab C. Nesbitt, who isn't actually hard to understand if you just listen, and perhaps have the mind for it.

I accept that some people would be all "BWUUUUH?!" because some people are like that about the most tepid accents, but I think a lot of us would be fine.



Sure, but what I'm saying is, I don't believe that there's any major 1800s British accent that I outright couldn't understand far better than any foreign language. Maybe if we found someone from a particularly weird part of the Highlands, or the Outer Hebrides (not really Britain anyway), or some weird little village with a unique accent you could, but no 1800s accent with more than, say, 20,000 speakers, is going to flummox me.

Again I accept they will flummox some people... many people even. Maybe I'm just being "triggered" as they say here lol? As you go further back it will get progressively harder. 1700s English is clearly trickier, and whilst Shakespeare is easy (and that is in part thanks to education), I bet 1600s would be getting kinda a tough, and by 1300s it will be extremely hard (until you tune in, which won't happen in a movie).



I don't find any US accents hard to follow at all (including Southern and Appalachian and so on). Or Canadian, or Australian, or New Zealand. I'm now wondering if I'm a freak of nature and circumstance though.
To go even further down the rabbit hole...your dialectal background might have prepared you unusually well for understanding American accents, which come overwhelmingly from just four British dialects, three of which are Northern, Scottish and East Anglia...

From the other direction, my father cannot for the life of him understand most British accents.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Thrall of Coot.
Again I accept they will flummox some people... many people even. Maybe I'm just being "triggered" as they say here lol? As you go further back it will get progressively harder. 1700s English is clearly trickier, and whilst Shakespeare is easy (and that is in part thanks to education), I bet 1600s would be getting kinda a tough, and by 1300s it will be extremely hard (until you tune in, which won't happen in a movie).
Oh, I don't know.

The written word is hard enough as you start going back; a lot of it is cleaned up now, but between non-standard spellings (as in they hadn't standardized spelling!) and the differences in grammar and tenses, it starts getting rough by the time of Chaucer.

But what makes it really hard is the pronounciation! The great vowel shift alone .... I've tried listening to authentic 14th century speech, and it might as well be a drunken Scotsman trying to impersonate an Irishman speaking Welsh.
 

I think they should speak in a way people would understand in the 21st century, while not having them talk in meme-language. The language should be similar to Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit.
Comedy should be a part of the movie, but the movie shouldn't be a comedy.
The movie should not be a redo of any existing D&D books. No Drizzt and the Crystal Shard, no Elminster books, no Blackstaff books, none of those. This would not be appreciated by most of the community, and wouldn't draw in the attention of non-D&D players. They need a new story to appease a broader audience.
Start small. Don't try to make a universe with the first movie, but hope for the best.
Have good writers, cast, directors, and CGI. These are important. Bad writers make plot holes and terrible dialogue. Bad cast make scenes cringy. Bad directors destroy movies. Bad CGI makes the scenes with it basically unwatchable.
Have fan service in the movie, but don't make the movie be about fan service. (This is what went wrong with the Force Awakens, in my opinion.)

This is about it. Making a good movie for D&D is probably somewhere along these lines.
 

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