Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez are shocked ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ inspired Satanic Panic: ‘This is wild’

From l to r: Justice Smith, Chris Pine, Sophie Lillis and Michelle Rodriguez in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. (Photo: Courtesy of Everett Collection)

dungeon and… Devil? As a wave of Satanic Panic The tabletop fantasy game that emerged in American conservative circles in the 1980s, dungeons, became one of the pieces of pop culture is considered the gateway to hell as it immerses children in an elaborate fantasy world populated by gods and monsters. It’s a strange moment D&D History that the current generation of young players most likely learned about last season stranger things.

But don’t take the Duffer Brothers’ word for it: Jeremy Latcham – one of the producers behind the new one dungeons Movie, honor among thieves – lived through the time of the country’s satanic panic and remembers the Christian-led crusade against the game as weird as you can imagine.

“I grew up in Oklahoma in the ’80s,” Latcham tells Yahoo Entertainment. “I remember that was the only thing I knew about D&D went to church on sunday and we had a whole satanic panic day! It was about Ozzy Osbourne eats the head off a batAnd D&D and some heavy metal music. It was like, ‘This is not allowed.’ We had to watch a video in our youth group!”

Flash forward forty years and Satanic Panic is dead and buried while dungeons is still going strong, not just as a game, but as a transmedia franchise spanning video games, books, and this already acclaimed new movie. “It’s very ironic for me to do one now D&D Movie so many years later,” Latcham admits with a laugh.

ARLINGTON, MA - DECEMBER 28: Robert Swift of Bedford, Mass.  holds up a cube while serving as the dungeon master in a game of Dungeons and Dragons at the Adventure Pub in Arlington, Mass. on Saturday, December 28, 2019.  In an increasingly high-tech world, board games are attracting a new audience: people who yearn to unplug and connect with friends.  You can compete at a game store and even play over beer and burgers at one of the growing number of board game restaurants.  (Photo by Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Tabletop gamers gather for a round dungeons in 2019 in Arlington, MA. (Photo by Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

In the intervening decades, Latcham left Oklahoma for Hollywood, where he worked for years at Marvel Studios making films such as iron man 2 And Protector of the Galaxy. In 2017 he founded his own production company, Latcham Pictures, which is now part of eOne – the film and television studio of toy giant Hasbro that matters D&D under its vast umbrella of tabletop franchises. And that position has allowed him to see firsthand what his former church leaders have gotten so wrong about the game.

“I don’t think people realized how community-building the game is and how it brings people together and brings out the best in them,” he explains now. “It’s exactly the opposite of what the old saying was about it. It’s pretty wild how different it is.”

honor among thieves Co-director Jonathan Goldstein – who helmed the film alongside regular collaborator John Frances Daley – expresses those sentiments as the proud father of a D&D Player. “My 11-year-old son and all the boys in his fifth grade joined one D&D group,” he says. “I didn’t force them to do it, they did it on their own. It’s so great to see them play it because it’s not on a screen. You’re using your imagination.”

Of course, these ideas can sometimes be carried away. “For 11-year-old boys, it tends to get really intense, really fast,” Goldstein says, laughing. “You killed a princess the other day when the jailer was really trying to stop her from killing! He said, ‘It’s not in your interest to kill her,’ but they said, ‘No, we’re going to kill the princess. ‘”

Chris Pine and Chloe Coleman in a scene from Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.  (Photo: Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Chris Pine and Chloe Coleman in a scene dating Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. (Photo: Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)

honor among thieves Missed stars Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez D&D‘s Satanic Panic period and express surprise that the game could ever be considered dangerous. “I remember rap music being feared,” says Pine, digging into his childhood memories. “Metallica was feared, death metal was feared. But I don’t remember dungeons to ever be on the most wanted list of cultural artifacts. That’s wild.”

“What surprises me about it is D&D is super imaginative,” Pine continues. “It’s really collaborative and positive. There’s always a lot of laughs while playing.”

On the other hand, Rodriguez’s own religious background helps her understand why D&D was targeted at the time. “I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness,” he said Fast and Furious star says. “So if it’s about any kind of oppression, I get it. But that’s weird that that was a thing [with D&D]. Maybe people mistook it for a Ouija board.” Now there are a crossover we’d love to see on the big screen.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is in cinemas now

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