Spooner Spotlight: Matt Lillard

Posted on March 29, 2024

Spooner Spotlight: Matt Lillard
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, we enlisted the help of renowned actor and D&D enthusiast Matt Lillard to help create our limited-edition print.

Thanks to his expertise, our launch was an overwhelming success – selling out in just a couple of weeks. We will have a limited reorder coming in August – please sign up for the waitlist here.

We’re so grateful to Matt for collaborating with us to create such a successful print. We caught up with him to chat about the design process for this Aloha shirt, his businesses, and his love for D&D.

Q: When did you get into D&D? How long have you been playing?
A: Just about as long as the game has been out. I started with the original red box and kept going until junior high school, where it became abundantly clear that if I wanted to keep playing “make-believe games” I would forever be “unlovable.”

Q: Have you played consistently since starting?
A: After my hiatus in high school, I got back into the game in '91 with a bunch of friends from acting school. It all started after a Super Bowl party, we were out in some dive bar in New York and thought, ‘What if we played D&D instead?’. Fast forward two weeks, armed with new dice, graph paper, and a stash of used 3.5 source books, we dove into an epic campaign from Dragon magazine called the “Age of Worms.” We kicked off at 10 PM in the lobby of the Broadway Theatre Circle in Times Square and didn't stop until six in the morning. I haven’t looked back since. We were all 21 then, and now, all of us have crossed deep into our 50s, and it’s been a constant love affair with the game since. 

Q: Tell us about the design process of our D&D print – What elements of the game were important for our artists to capture to ensure we created an print that spoke to true fans of the game?
A: In diving into the design process with the Reyn Spooner artists, my main aim was simple: don't screw it up. It was crucial for me that we captured the quintessential elements of the game that fans universally adore. That's why you'll see iconic monsters like the gelatinous cube, owlbear, and the Ancient Red Dragon. The Yawning Portal makes an appearance, not to mention a few hidden gems sprinkled throughout. What I found particularly exciting was how each vignette – painstakingly hand-painted by the amazing artists in Hawai’i – reflects the core ability stats foundational to building a character. Take intelligence, for example – it's represented by a Human Wizard casting a spell against a Blue Dragon! It’s storytelling on an Aloha shirt… How awesome is that?!

Q: How do you feel about the final result?
A: I LOVE the shirts. I'm convinced D&D enthusiasts of all ages will be into them. I believe the design nails the game's essence, appealing directly to the fandom. I hope these shirts get snatched up, and Reyn Spooner will make more of them going forward. In my opinion the future is bright for D&D and Reyn Spooner!

Q: When did you get the idea to turn your passion for D&D into a business with Beadle & Grimm's?
A: To be honest, it was a lovely midlife crisis. The guys I had played D&D with since 1991 all reached a point in our careers where we achieved a certain amount of success, and we were left wondering… What else should we do with our lives? Out of this existential question, we built Beadle & Grimm’s. Five years later, it's going strong, and all four of my partners have left their previous careers and work full-time for B&G. Learn more:  https://beadleandgrimms.com/

Q: Tell us a bit about what you guys make?
A: We started out as a premium box company and are now starting to create our own, original intellectual properties. As a premium box company, anything you could possibly want for your Dungeons & Dragons adventures, we would curate and include in a single box experience. If your adventure calls for a magical golden ring, or a ransom letter, or a detailed map of a castle… we'll spend six to eight months before the adventure is released and create those elements, put ‘em in a box, and make all your dreams come true!  As the company has expanded over time, we’ve moved into new and exciting areas – mystery box games, Magic the Gather collectibles, popular IP-inspired games, and more.  Recently we launched a very successful Kickstarter and created our own original game called Ring of Chaos, which you’ll find in-game stores near you this spring.

Q: In addition to Beadle & Grimm’s, you recently launched Quest’s End, a whiskey for D&D fans. Can you tell us how this idea came about?
A: Back in October 2023, I teamed up with a couple of partners to launch Find Familiar Spirits. We're all about crafting high-end spirit experiences tailored to specific fandoms. Our first release, Quest's End: Paladin, hit the market in October and, believe it or not, sold out in less than a fortnight. Quest's End goes beyond being a bottle of premium whiskey; it unfolds a saga across 16 releases, each highlighting a unique character class with flavors that mirror their traits. This makes every bottle a distinct experience, capturing the essence of the characters it's inspired by. Given the success of Quest’s end, we're excited to expand into other fandoms later this year. Learn more: https://www.shopquestsendwhiskey.com/



Mahalo nui loa to Matt Lillard for his help in creating this fantastic print – we couldn’t have done it without you!