How Did Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Land That (Literally) Little Cameo From A Big Star?

This post contains spoilers for "Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves."

Somewhat amazingly, "Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" currently ranks as one of the best-reviewed movies of 2023. For what could have been a cheap franchise play, directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley actually managed to deliver the goods, thanks in no small part to an A-list cast led by the likes of Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez. But there was another A-lister who came as a big (technically little) surprise to audiences: Bradley Cooper.

"The Hangover" and "A Star Is Born" actor shows up a bit late in the film as the surprising husband to Rodriguez's character Holga. Whereas she is a hulking warrior, Cooper's character is a tiny, tiny man (a halfling, in D&D parlance), making for a hilarious, crowd-pleasing scene in the film. In a recent interview with Variety, the filmmakers explained how the cameo came to be. Daley worked with Cooper on "Kitchen Confidential" way back in 2005, and that opened the door for them to reunite nearly 20 years later:

"We had thought about a really fun cameo for this part. It was sent to his agent, but I sent him a letter saying like, 'It'd be fun to play again.' I got a text from him from a number I didn't recognize saying, 'Yo, is this still John?' And I said, 'Who's this?' Because I've gotten weird texts before from strangers. He said, 'BC from KC.' I'm like, 'What?' 'Kitchen Confidential!' I'm like, 'Oh, s***!' I immediately called him. He had just seen the film. He called it a triumph, which almost made me cry, because it had been a real long process working on this thing. And he was like, 'I'm on board. Sign me up.'"

Making Bradley Cooper three-feet tall

By the time Cooper signed on to cameo in the scene, "Game Night" duo Goldstein and Daley had already all but finished the $150 million blockbuster. Hence, the actor was able to see a cut of it. So they filmed Cooper's part well after the fact and inserted it in later. "We'd shot everything. I read the Michelle part with him," Daley explained. "I think because we were shrinking him down to be a halfling, three-foot tall man, it was easy enough to recreate, do the blue screens behind him," Goldstein added. Daley then went into the specifics of how they got it done:

"We rebuilt the chair, which was massive. Then I acclimated myself to Holga's performance. We didn't want to change too many takes on her side, because we're really happy with how she played it. But we also wanted there to be some chemistry and rapport between them. And so it was Bradley's idea that I'd read with him for old times sake. So that's what I did.

Originally, an unnamed director filmed the cameo in question. However, Goldstein and Daley declined to name names in this particular interview, though they were complimentary. "He did so well," Goldstein said, with Daley adding, "I don't want to embarrass him. He gave an amazing performance. He was really good and nuanced. But there was always, in the back of our mind, this lingering desire to bring in that sort of dream casting."

"Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" is in theaters now.