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One of the great ironies of the production shutdown has been the number of movies that were moving forward after being in limbo for years, that have once again had to sit and wait now that stay-at-home orders have been put in place and large gatherings have been cancelled. One of those movies is the long in development Dungeons & Dragons film. The film finally found its creative force last year in John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein who are acting as both writers and directors for the project. The pair now say that the current environment may force them to make some changes to the movie they were going to make.
John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein recently spoke to THR where they gave an update of Dungeons & Dragons. While the film still has a ways to go before filming can get underway, the pair were set to go location scouting just as lockdowns started going into effect. While the duo apparently has used their time at home constructively, they have finished the second draft of the D&D script, They are now rethinking some of the things in that script, specifically, scenes that would require large crowds of extras to gather together. According to John Francis Daley...
Very much, especially with background players. That whole world is going to change dramatically, I feel. We have these scenes with big crowds that we are now rethinking and deciding if it's worth preserving or if we should try to pivot and find another way into the scenes we were imagining.
It's certainly an understandable reaction. Even when things get back underway there are likely going to be a lot of precautions taken. There is still a lot of worry about a second wave of the virus, and no movie production wants to be part of that. Of course, it's difficult to make a movie without large numbers of people, but adding hundreds of extras to a scene in order to create a crowd is going to increase the odds of something getting spread.
There are, of course, other ways to handle filming a scene that would require a lot of extras. People could be created digitally, though that would likely increase the budget of the film significantly. It's possible that some clever camera work could be used to make a scene with only a few people look larger than it is.
The other option, of course, is to simply change the scene so there is no need to bring more people than necessary onto the set. This is likely to be a consideration that many movies are going to need to make over the next several months, and possibly years.
We may see some pretty creative storytelling coming out of the movies in the near future as filmmakers find ways to tell their stories with a new set of constraints. Sometimes constraints end up revealing some impressive results.