You take one guy from True Blood (Ryan Kwanten), add a dose of what makes Game of Thrones f—ing awesome (Peter Dinklage), throw in the really hot, kick-ass girl from Firefly and its movie spin-off Serenity (Summer Glau), and you have the recipe for one geektastic cinematic souffle.
The title of this extravaganza: Knights of Badassdom.
The movie, about a group of Dungeons & Dragons-style role-play fans whose wizard-wannabe pal (Steve Zahn) accidentally awakens a human-devouring hell-succubus, will be previewed in detail at Comic-Con next week, but EW scored a first look at photos from the horror-comedy.
Getting a cast of actors with a broad history in the sci-fi/fantasy genre added to its pop-culture bona fides. “Literally a year ago was our first week of shooting. With Steve, Ryan, and Peter, I was like, ‘If you guys weren’t making the movie you’d be going to Comic-Con right now,'” says director Joe Lynch, who is making his big screen debut after the 2007 direct-to-video horror sequel Wrong Turn 2.
Zahn and Dinklage play Eric and Hung, two friends obsessed with Live-Action Role Play (a.k.a. LARPing) who decide their depressed roommate, Joe (Kwanten) needs to join in their fake-armor and foam-sword reindeer games. “ Joe is a wannabe rockstar whose girlfriend (Margarita Levieva) broke up with him, his band is kaput, he lost his job, and his buddies are like, ‘Look you had a bad day, but instead of going to a bar, come with us and go LARPing and escape. Live outside your box a little,’” Lynch says.
So Joe dives deep into the world of geek, only to have Eric inadvertently perform a real spell from a creepy old book he bought off eBay. Turns out the book was penned by demons, and a succubus is now roaming the campsite where hundreds of people dressed as knights, elves, and warlocks are playing make-believe.
Oh, and since Joe was the focus of the spell, the demon has taken the form of the girl who ditched him – which means Levieva spends a lot of time creepily seducing – and then shredding – a lot of nerd flesh.
Glau co-stars as a fellow LARPer who is actually not bad with a sword. Lucky for the panicky guys, this damsel causes distress.
“I know these people,” says Lynch, who directed the film with a sword named Edith by his side. “I know myself and my own obsessions and this is the type of movie I love to see.”
Though they poke a little fun at the world of LARPing, Lynch says it’s all affectionate. Most of the extras were devoted role-play aficionados themselves.
“I love the idea of wish-fulfillment, that you can work in Baja Fresh or at an office all week but on the weekend you can throw on armor made of pizza boxes or have a sword with duct tape on it and become an elf or a thief or a rogue,” Lynch says. “And the outside world goes away.”
Or you get eaten by a sexy succubus. Whichever comes first.
For more Comic-Con news, follow Anthony Breznican on Twitter: @Breznican.