A couple of my good friends are active LARPers — they participate in Live Action Role Playing, a form of gaming where they act out the medieval/futuristic/thriller adventures. When the acronym or even that explanation still draws blank stares, they tell people, “It’s like Christopher Mintz-Plasse‘s character in Role Models.” Even though LARP is starting to break through into mainstream culture, it’s still mostly a reference for a niche crowd, like geeky CollegeHumor readers or Degrassi fans.
Until now. One of the panels at San Diego Comic-Con next week is for the upcoming indie comedy The Knights of Badassdom, starring a bevy of well-known geek actors: Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Danny Pudi (Community), and Summer Glau (Firefly). Imagine my astonishment, then, to learn that it’s about LARP.
I’m assuming it’s a comedy about LARPers who get transported to the fantasy world in which they play. The LARPers are led by Dinklage and Steve Zahn, and become the cavalry for heavy metal rocker Joe (Kwanten) after majorly bad magic messes up his girlfriend Beth (Margarita Levieva). Here’s the logline:
When Joe’s “sorcerer” roommate (Zahn) inadvertently summons a deadly succubus that takes Beth’s seductive form, bloody reality crashes down upon their fantasy world. Once LARPers start to turn up dead, the make-believe wizards and warriors must become the real life heroes they have been pretending to be in order to conquer the evil that has been unleashed.
I was hoping that Kwanten would play one of the LARPers since it’s not all nerdy types who take up the hobby, but I guess we’re a few years away from that. And even though Zahn and Dinklage play these types of dorky roles, the fact that they’re well-known — and in Dinklage’s case, really in-demand — Hollywood actors who would agree to do this project is mind-boggling. Even though the movie will likely poke fun at the hobby, the presence of these stars will demand that moviegoers take the message, about the value of pretend, to heart.
Even as someone who’s had indirect exposure to LARP, I never imagined that it would be something that mainstream culture would be introduced to; I figured that you had to seek it out for yourself. To be fair, it is an indie, so the audience will still be fairly niche. But expect a lot more conversations buzzing after next week, when we get the SDCC reports.
So if you’re at Comic-Con, don’t miss this meeting of the geek minds; the panel is on Saturday, July 23, at 2:15 p.m.