And Lo, The Geek Gods Want To Give Us Joe Manganiello In A ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Movie

Getty/Wizards Of The Coast

Despite hearing variations of “you should never judge a book by its cover” growing up, assumptions about people tend to sneak in. No matter how good your intentions are, sometimes you subconsciously slot people into one-dimensional categories like “geek” or “jock.” But even as a die hard tabletop RPG (role-playing game) player* who games with people from a variety of backgrounds and wide swath of interests, the record needle still scratched when I discovered Joe Manganiello not only loves Dungeons & Dragons, but loves it so much he’s written a script.

*Ask me about my love of Shadowrun.

Yes, that Joe Manganiello.

The Magic Mike XXL actor was recently on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, and the entire interview is a nerdy joy. For example, it turns out we have comic books to thank for Manganiello’s physique. The actor explains:

“Everyone [in 80s comics] was ripped. Consciously, it was an effort. The first time I get to break out of this [nerdy body], I’m going for it. That’s how bodybuilding became a thing for me, but I struggled with it for years…Miraculous turnaround.”

But it was more than just comics. One of Manganiello’s first experiences with geek literature was listening to The Hobbit on one of those tiny child record players. As it was for many of us, Tolkien was merely a gateway drug to geekdom. It wasn’t long before Manganiello was reading Stephen King and watching Star Wars films. “I loved the Empire. I was all about Darth Vader. The power, the command,” he said. “You have to give credit to David Proust [the actor inside the Vader costume] because several other people have put that suit on and it doesn’t look right. Movement is a huge part of acting.”

And it was all of this that culminated with Manganiello writing his own script for a Dungeons & Dragons movie. Which, to be honest, most players of the game have fantasized about after a particularly good campaign. But unlike the rest of us, Manganiello has the contacts and clout to make his dream a reality.

“Last year with a playwright that I went to Carnegie Mellon with, we actually made a draft of a film, and now we’re talking to all the right parties. I had a two-day creative summit with the Wizards of the Coast. We had a two-day summit about where the movie could go or TV series, products, synergy, the whole deal.

All the video games you play came out of D&D. And most of the filmmakers from our generation grew up playing it. Obviously [audiences need] spectacle. There’s dragons, breathing fire and lightning. That’s [one of] the biggest draw in Game of Thrones…[but] what makes a great fantasy or superhero movie is the human aspect. It’s gotta be about something. We root for those characters in Game of Thrones. Fellowship of the Ring was about friendship and this undying love for your friends and doing anything for your friends, and I think that’s something people can identify with…So I think when a movie is about something human and real emotionally, people are wanna go see it. And then if you get some dragons and breathing fire, I’m in.”

Manganiello deferred on elaborating what role he would play both in front of and behind the cameras, but promised that he and Wizards of the Coast were on the same page as to what the tone and visuals of the film should look like. Perhaps Manganiello can succeed where the 2000 Dungeons & Dragons film failed. To use Game of Thrones again as an example, the HBO show proved audiences love fantasy, as long as the showrunners and writers are fans of the source material.

(Via Syfy Wire)