Per Variety, Chris Pine is in talks to star in Paramount’s cinematic adaptation of popular role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
Game Night duo Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley are directing the movie and writing the screenplay, which is based on a draft by Michael Gilio.
Paramount is co-producing and co-financing the film with Hasbro and eOne, with eOne distributing the movie in the U.K. and Canada, and Paramount handling the rollout in the rest of the world.
This isn’t actually the first time Dungeons & Dragons has been adapted into a film. Back in 2000 there was an adaptation for New Line Cinema that starred Justin Whalin, Marlon Wayans and Jeremy Irons. However it was a massive critical and commercial flop. Paramount will be hoping for a much better outcome this time around.
This incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons has been in the works for a while.
It was originally in development at Warner Bros. with Ansel Elgort in line for the lead role and Goosebumps director Rob Letterman helming the project. But a legal battle between Sweetpea Entertainment and Hasbro about ownership rights took place, which moved the film to Paramount.
Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie) was then brought on board, before being replaced by Goldstein and Daley last year. The release date has also been tinkered with many times, with the film recently being delayed from its November 2021 release until May 27, 2022.
It will be interesting to see how Dungeons & Dragons performs. It’s little surprise that the 2000 adaptation bombed, but the game has become more popular and recognisable in the years since, so this film should have more luck.
However, films based on games haven’t always fared well. 2012’s Battleship was an attempt to make the classic game into an action blockbuster, but was a financial disappointment, and the similar Warcraft in 2016 also performed below expectations.
Despite the Dungeons & Dragons name entering the mainstream, there is likely still fear that the game itself is too niche for a film version to reach a wide audience.
However, getting an actor like Pine on board should help, and Goldstein and Daley did a terrific job with Game Night, which lightly skewered the thriller genre pretty well. Perhaps Paramount are aiming for something a little more light-hearted than those similar, more serious adaptations. We’ll see.
Pine will be seen in mere days in Wonder Woman 1984, which hits cinemas and HBO Max on Christmas Day. He’s also currently working on Olivia Wilde‘s Booksmart follow-up, the 50s-set psychological thriller Don’t Worry, Darling.