EXCLUSIVE: This ought to reverberate through the geek realm. Warner Bros has acquired rights to make a movie based on Dungeons & Dragons, the perennially popular role-playing game fantasy game. The studio is actually quite far along in the development of the project, as it will use a script by Wrath Of The Titans and Red Riding Hood scribe and Frank Darabont protege David Leslie Johnson. That script, Chainmail, was acquired last year as a free-standing project, based on an obscure game that was also hatched by D&D designer Gary Gygax before he and Dave Arneson launched D&D. It is being retro-fitted to fit the much bigger game creation. The film will be produced by The Lego Movie producer Roy Lee and Courtney Solomon. The latter actually directed a 2000 Dungeons & Dragons feature, a film that starred Jeremy Irons and did not do well.
Given the heightened interest in sword, sorcery, chivalry and cool creatures within Warner Bros with the HBO series Game Of Thrones and the ongoing Peter Jackson-directed adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit, it is expected that the studio will expend the necessary resources to create a world around a well-established brand which has generated north of $1 billion in books and merchandise since it was launched in 1974. The studio is going out to filmmakers and I’m told they are treating it as a big priority. Alan Zeman is exec producing. I’ve never played the game, but it is a fantasy universe on the order of The Lord Of The Rings, which was most popular back when players had to use their collective imaginations — before video games became so visually sophisticated that it eliminated the need to do much more than sit back and blast away. The studio’s intention is to reboot the franchise for a new generation.