Joe Manganiello, the actor who moonlights as a “Dungeons & Dragons” official ambassador, will direct a documentary about the popular tabletop fantasy game with Kyle Newman. The film, backed by Hasbro and eOne, is billed as “the definitive documentary feature about the world’s greatest roleplaying game” and is timed to the 50th anniversary of “Dungeons & Dragons” in 2024.
In addition to co-directing the untitled film, Manganiello will serve as a producer with his brother Nick Manganiello, Anthony Savini and Cecily Tyler. Tara Long and Geno McDermott are executive producing for eOne alongside leading “Dungeons & Dragons” scholar Jon Peterson, Adam F. Goldberg and Newman.
“I couldn’t be more proud and excited to get back behind the camera for another documentary, this time with the D&D dream team of Jon, Kyle and my brother and producing partner Nick. I lived through the rise and fall and rise again of this legacy brand that has not only meant so much to me but has served as the fountainhead of creativity for an entire generation of writers, artists and creative minds, influencing so much of our culture,” said Manganiello. “None of this would have been possible without Nathan Stewart at Wizards of the Coast and my eternally supportive boss from the HBO/’True Blood’ days, Michael Lombardo and the fantastic team at eOne.”
The film will incorporate more than 400 hours of archived, never-before-seen “Dungeons & Dragons” footage from the game’s creation in the early 1970s. It will also include interviews with celebrity fans of the game. (Manganiello, himself, hosts starry campaigns for “D&D,” including the likes of Vince Vaughn, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, and “Game of Thrones” co-creator D.B. Weiss.)
Joe and Nick Manganiello, Newman and Goldberg have spent years acquiring exclusive rights to the footage, as well as inside access to highly confidential developments regarding the game and brand. It’s the company’s first time authorizing such access.
“I have had the pleasure of working in the past with Joe on ‘True Blood’ among other projects and cannot think of a better more passionate person to dive headfirst into the world of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ from both a player and fan perspective,” said Michael Lombardo, eOne’s head of global television. “The addition of Kyle Newman, Nick Manganiello, and Jon Peterson also bring unique and multiple dimensions to the history we plan to document. As we approach 50 years of this incredible gaming universe, the time is right for an officially authorized telling of the game’s origins and current state of play to its passionate fan based from all walks of life and its global cultural impact.”
Cynthia Williams, Hasbro president of Wizards of the Coast and digital gaming, adds, “‘Dungeons & Dragons’ has sparked the imagination of fans all over the world for nearly 50 years and we continue to bring exciting and engaging experiences to new generations.”
More than 50 million people have played or interacted with “Dungeons & Dragons” in the last five decades, making it one of Hasbro’s key franchise brands. A live-action movie titled “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is currently in the works at Paramount. It stars Chris Pine and “Bridgerton” breakout Rege-Jean Page and opens in theaters on March 3, 2023.
In addition to his “D&D” bona fides, Manganiello is best known for “Spider-Man,” the “Magic Mike” franchise and “True Blood.” In 2012, Joe and Nick launched 3:59 Inc., which has backed “Bottom of the 9th,” starring Joe Manganiello and Sofia Vergara, and the documentary “La Bare,” Joe’s directorial debut.
Newman’s directing credits include “Fanboys,” the “Star Wars”-centered comedy starring Seth Rogen and Kristen Bell, as well as “Barely Lethal,” A24’s action-comedy starring Hailee Steinfeld and Samuel L. Jackson.
Joe Manganiello is represented by CAA. Newman is represented by Wonder Street and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.
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