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DnD movie pranked its cast with real quicksand floor trap

The DnD movie sprung a real quicksand trap on its cast, who weren't told how the Transmute Rock spell would work until they were already sinking.

DnD movie Hugh Grant playing Forge Fitzwilliam in the DnD movie

In the DnD movie, when the (spoilers) villainous nature of Hugh Grant’s character Forge Fitzwilliam is revealed, the heroes are quickly put in a sticky situation, trapped as the ground magically liquifies beneath them. But according to producer Jeremy Latcham in the new book ‘The Art and Making of Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’, this was not only a practical effect, it was one that was kept semi-secret from the cast.

Latcham explains that an air cannon, cleverly disguised by floor tiles, was used to alter the properties of sand, contained in a glass box. The sand becomes like liquid, mimicking the properties of the D&D spell Transmute Rock.

SFX supervisor Sam Conway goes into more detail. “Effectively, we are making quicksand – instant quicksand – so the sand would be the solid surface and then we aerate it, and it loses all its bounce, and they just sink straight through it.” Latcham describes his reaction to seeing the effect for the first time: “Holy cow, that’s the spell that’s in the book. You just did that. Are you a magician?”

DnD Movie set shot showing the actors approaching the quicksand trap

The effect not only looked the part, it allowed the film crew to prank the actors, who according to Latcham, weren’t told how it worked. “We just tell them to get up and walk across the set and they do so, and Sam liquifies the ground. And it turns from being sand in a solid state to… all of a sudden, the actors are sinking in it.

“And the looks on their faces are so like they’re unsure of what the heck just happened to them. And you get this moment in Forge’s office where all the reactions are really, really real as a result.”

‘The Art of Making Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ by Eleni Roussos was released on April 4. It’s full of behind the scenes detail, like the story of how the filmmakers smashed up the set with a Mini Cooper.

We enjoyed DnD: Honor Among Thieves, as you can see from our DnD movie review. We did spot a few times they strayed from the DnD rulebook however. Call it DM fiat…