Dungeons & Dragons: Shooting in lockdown gave us 'a cabin-fever level of insanity'
“It bonded us more than anything just to suffer together”
Watch: The cast of Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves talk about bonding
Despite Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves (in cinemas 31 March) having a fantasy setting and jubilant tone, the movie’s production was not the easiest of rides for its cast.
When asked about how the cast bonded, Michelle Rodriguez — who plays a punch-first, ask questions later barbarian — tells Yahoo UK that the process of “shooting a movie for five months in Northern Ireland during lockdown” was intense.
“It keeps you intimate,” adds co-star Regé-Jean Page, sitting alongside her.
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“It really does, because we had to keep each other enlivened during this process,” Rodriguez says. “It bonded us more than anything just to suffer together.”
“[There was] a cabin-fever level of insanity,” Page, a stoic paladin in Honour Among Thieves, concludes.
Thankfully, the cast — which also includes Chris Pine, Hugh Grant, Sophia Lillis, and Justice Smith — did not meet for the first time on set, having played a collective game of Dungeons & Dragons together before the cameras rolled.
For Rodriguez, it was a useful experience to get to know the other cast members better; to see “who's competitive, who's not, where people's imaginations go, who's playful, and what kind of minds you're dealing with, who you're eventually going to make a movie with.”
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Directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley likewise found the playthrough, which saw each cast member roleplay as their respective character, helpful in understanding the group dynamic.
“What was surprising to me was how quickly they all jumped into their characters,” Daley says. “What's so special about D&D is that it really encourages imaginative play. It allows you to reach that comfort zone as an actor a lot faster than you normally would, even in a regular rehearsal.
“I would recommend that any movie have a D&D campaign that is themed in that movie before you start shooting, because it really does create this spontaneity, but also this validity to each of the characters.”
“We also learned a lot about the interaction between the actors and their characters,” Goldstein adds. “The way that Rege and Chris immediately fell into the dynamic you see in the film, with [Page’s] paladin being humourless, [Pine’s] bard being less than serious. And Michelle really quickly got into kicking butts.”
For Lillis, though, there are a few regrets about her first Dungeons & Dragons game with the cast. “It was a lot of fun,” she says. “I do feel like if we were ever to do that again, I would have done it differently. Just play the character a little bit more sarcastic.”
“You were though!” interjects Smith.
“Just to give her a little bit more of a voice and maybe she would have helped you guys fight towards the end,” Lillis explains.
“She was fighting something completely pointless while we were dealing with the big bad guy,” Smith says. “[But] I do want to play again, it was a lot of fun.”
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Should Honour Among Thieves be a box-office hit, perhaps there will be room for a few more campaigns with this cast.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is in UK cinemas from 31 March. Watch a trailer below.