Doing their part to continue one of the most uninspired entertainment in recent years, the directing duo of Johnathan Goldstein and Jon Daley have admitted their their upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves emasculates its male leads – though they claim this was not done for “woke reasons”, but because they thought the idea was “funny and fun and fresh”.
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Goldstein and Daley, perhaps best known as the screenwriters behind the titular web-slinger’s first official MCU outing in Spider-Man: Homecoming, revealed their less-than-flattering approach to their film’s male character during a recent interview with Variety’s Adam B. Vary.
Following brief discussions regarding their own personal histories with the original game and their ostensibly-respectful-but-ultimately-cynical feelings towards working with established IPs, the pair were eventually met with an observation from Vary that “the lead female characters — Michelle Rodriguez’s Holga and Sophia Lillis’ Doric — are at the forefront of the action scenes, and the men are often hanging back.”
“That was not an attempt at wokeness on our part,” defended Goldstein in turn.
“Swear to God, it wasn’t,” Daley backed up his creative partner. “We liked that Holga is the bruiser that does the dirty work for Edgin, and he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty. We also love emasculating leading men. ”
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“Just because it’s funny and fun and fresh,” said the former Bones star. “It was the dynamic we had with Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman’s characters in [our previous co-directorial outing] Game Night.”
“Or Tom Holland versus Robert Downey Jr. in Spider-Man: Homecoming,” interjected Goldstein.We like our male heroes to be challenged and not simply heroic.
“What’s funny is that in our casting process on multiple films, we’ve met movie stars that you would think are comfortable enough in their own skin that they would be able to portray themselves in a vulnerable light,” Daley then recalled.
“But a lot of them really don’t feel comfortable doing that,” he continued. “Obviously, we won’t name a name here, but there is a notable movie star,” – Goldstein quickly quips “I can think of two” – “who is so handsome and awesome and will not make himself look weak. That’s so shocking, because to me, that feels like the most fun that you could have as an actor.”
“I think they think they love to do that,” agreed Goldstein. “But when it comes down to it, they’re not really willing to look foolish or ‘less than’.”
“We’ve talked about this before with [Honor of Thieves star] Chris Pine,” Daley noted as their time with Vary drew to a close. “What we love about Chris is that he’s hyper-aware of that and wants to make himself look as bad as possible, almost to a fault. Sometimes we’re like, “All right, no, you have to be a hero in this moment.”
As noted above, despite the duo’s insistence that their decision to emasculate Pine’s, Regé-Jean Page’s, Justice Smith’s, and Hugh Grant’s character is some sort of subversive and ground breaking new story angle, anyone who has engaged with any piece of entertainment in the last decade knows that not only is this idea far from fresh, it’s become outright overused.
From Marvel’s lead Avengers being continually replaced by new female characters who are shown to have better control over their respective power-sets – such as Black Panther, the Hulk, and Thor – in both their films and comics, to Amazon employing every embarrassing ‘girl boss’ writing trope to prop up Galadriel over her male peers in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, there is nary a beloved franchise that hasn’t seen its male characters suffer character assassination in the name of identity politics.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is set to roll into theaters on March 31st, 2022.
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