Michelle Rodriguez reveals the truth about Bradley Cooper's 'Dungeons & Dragons' cameo
Rodriguez said another actor played Cooper's role when she originally shot the scene.
Noted Dungeons & Dragons fan, Vin Diesel, may not appear in Honor Among Thieves — the latest attempt to turn the classic role playing tabletop game into a feature film franchise — but he's represented by two citizens of his respective cinematic universes. Midway through the new fantasy adventure, Diesel's Fast and Furious co-star Michelle Rodriguez pays a visit to her ex-lover, played by none other than Diesel's Guardians of the Galaxy pal, Bradley Cooper. But even though audiences are able to witness this multiversal meeting in the finished film, Rodriguez didn't have the same experience on set.
"It was originally another actor [in that scene]," the actress reveals to Yahoo Entertainment, explaining that Cooper's cameo was filmed entirely separately. "They added [Bradley] after the fact and then told me about it. I was like, 'What?'" But Rodriguez adds that she has had a close encounter with Cooper separate from the film. "I like him in real life: I think he's a cool dude."
Watch our interview with Michelle Rodriguez on YouTube
In the film, Rodriguez plays the brave barbarian, Holga, who joins her partner-in-mischief, Edgin (Chris Pine), on a quest to recover his daughter from the clutches of Hugh Grant's backstabbing rogue, Forge Fitzwilliam. During their journey, she swings by Cooper's home for help, and it turns out that her ex is a Hobbit-sized resident of this mythical landscape. The scene pointedly harkens back to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies, where Ian McKellen towered over Elijah Wood through the magic of forced perspective and digital assists.
"It was really great to see because it's a spoof within the movie," Rodriguez says."It has this suspension of disbelief throughout and it's broken in that moment, because you don't expect it and you get caught off guard when you see the celebrity and not the character for a second there. I thought that was great — a good comic relief moment." Asked whether Diesel was jealous not to score an invite to this D&D party, Rodriguez just laughs. "No, but I think he's gonna be proud of me once he checks this out!"
As for how Cooper ended up in the movie, credit goes to Honor Among Thieves co-director John Frances Daley, who starred opposite the voice of Rocket Raccoon in their short-lived 2005 Fox comedy series, Kitchen Confidential, based on the memoir by the late Anthony Bourdain. The actors have kept in touch ever since, especially as they've both moved behind the camera to launch directing careers. (Daley previously helmed 2015's Vacation and 2018's Game Night with his D&D co-director, Jonathan Goldstein.)
"We screened [the film] for him, and he had very nice things to say," Daley recalls, adding that Cooper doesn't actually play D&D himself. "We were really, really grateful for him to take the time to do [this cameo] for us, and I think people will be pleasantly surprised."
Informed that the sight of a Hobbit-cosplaying Cooper inspired a wave of laughter at the screening Yahoo Entertainment attended, Daley replies with a perfect deadpan: "We didn't change his height at all." Adds Goldstein: "He's usually on a bunch of Apple boxes in movies."
While Cooper may not be a D&D player, Hollywood is filled with famous fans of the game from Jon Favreau to Joe Manganiello. But Goldstein says that they purposefully avoided turning Honor Among Thieves Iinto a roll call of celebrity cameos. "We were so excited to have the celebrity cast that we ended up with that we didn't feel like we needed to pad it out too much," he explains. "Also, there's a risk that it can take audiences out of the film if they start to see too many famous faces. Bradley's [cameo] did exactly what we wanted it to do: t's right in the middle of the movie, and it's such a shock and such a fun little addition."
But the filmmakers couldn't resist adding one in-game cameo to the movie. In the climax, eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot live action incarnations of Eric, the Cavalier, Presto, the Magician and the rest of the cartoon characters that appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons animated series from the early '80s.
"We talked about that for a long time," says Daley, adding Wizards of the Coast — the game company that currently owns D&D — pushed for the cameo. "The biggest hurdle was trying to find costumes that didn't look absurdly cartoony. It's hard to make that tall green wizard hat look anything other than absolutely clownish. That's one of the reasons why we don't show them a lot in the movie, but we're happy that people seem to be really responding to it."
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is playing in theaters now