“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is the talk of SXSW right now after its opening night screening resulted in rave reviews. 2023 is shaping up to be a big year for its directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who rose to prominence for their work on “Game Night.” But the year almost looked very different for them. The two men were previously attached to write and direct “The Flash” for Warner Bros., but ultimately left the comic book film and ceded control to new director Andy Muschietti.
In a new interview with Variety, the two filmmakers recalled their initial meetings with Warner Bros. and franchise star Ezra Miller and explained why they ultimately dropped the project.
“They were intense and very bright,” Goldstein said of Miller. “Later, it became clear that they didn’t want to quite do the same thing as we did.”
Those unspecified creative differences with Miller and the Warner Bros. brass ultimately led to Goldstein and Daley exiting the project. While they left on good terms, they ultimately decided that pursuing a job like “Dungeons and Dragons” that would give them more control was a better use of their time.
“It was a number of creative differences that caused us at a certain point to decide that it was time to go,” Daley said.
“If we feel like the powers-that-be aren’t excited about making the same movie as we are, we’re not going to win that battle,” Goldstein added. “And so it’s better to cut your losses and get out of there.”
That said, the two filmmakers maintained a story credit on the film. They recently attended a screening of the finished movie, and say that they were pleased with how it eventually turned out.
“They took what we had started and really ran with it and made it a very fun and emotional movie,” Goldstein says. “We’re really happy with how it all turned out.”
“The Flash” has been the subject of endless controversy due to Miller’s erratic public behavior in recent years. The scandals led many to believe that Warner Bros. Discovery would scrap the completed film like it did with “Batgirl.” While that didn’t end up happening (due in part to overwhelmingly positive test screenings), Miller’s private life still looms large over the film. When asked about the actor’s offscreen struggles, Daley gave a diplomatic answer.
“All I can say is, having been through the trying process of making a massive film in the best of circumstances, I was very empathetic toward the people that put a loooot of time and then themselves in making the film, like Andy and Christina,” Daley said. “I can only imagine how fraught that must have been for them. But I’m so glad that the finished product is a super fun movie.”
He continued: “Obviously, you don’t want any headwinds when you’re trying to put a giant, expensive movie out in the world… And hopefully, the quality of the film will come through, and people will embrace it.”