By EW Staff
Updated November 17, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

Writer/ director Courtney Solomon acquired the rights to the hugely popular role playing game when he was 20 years old, only to spend much of the ’90s trying to get it out of the development dungeon. Eventually executive producer Joel Silver (”The Matrix”) helped him pull together funding for this $35 million fantasy, in which a young empress (Thora Birch) and two bumbling thieves (Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans) team up to protect their kingdom from a power mad magician (Jeremy Irons).

For the 11 minute climactic dragon battle, Solomon would rather not have used computer generated beasties. ”I tried to find 20 or so dragons, somewhere, just so we could use live action ones,” he says. ”Turns out they don’t exist, no matter how much money you have.” (New Line)