French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) caught crowds by surprise when he started giving away details on his planned Dune movie, to a packed Place des Arts’ Théâtre Maisonneuve in Montreal as part of a scheduled lesson on cinema at the annual Rendez-Vous du Cinema Quebecois.
The Blade Runner 2049 director revealed that his Dune adaptation will probably take two years to make and will consist of at least two movies, if not more. Villeneuve, who signed on to direct a new adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel last year, threw a few jabs at George Lucas saying that Star Wars was highly influenced by the novel, albeit with a very childish approach, continuing to state that his version would be “Star Wars for adults”. The director did not fail to praise David Lynch who also directed an adaptation of the novel in 1984 but promised that his version would be very different and a more faithful adaptation of the source material.
To be honest, although Lynch’s version was highly ambitious and a pretty good sci-fi movie at the time, it did not quite capture the essence and magnitude of the source material. An earlier attempt to bring the story to the big screen was made by the visionary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. The French-Chilean filmmaker had envisioned a Magnus Opus like no other. The planned film included a stellar cast with the likes of Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles, David Carradine, Mick Jagger, and Amanda Lear. The artwork would be provided by the legendary H.R. Giger (Alien) and highly acclaimed comic artist Jean Giraud (Moebius), while Dan O’Bannon (Star Wars, Alien) was set to oversee the special effects. Jodorowsky even had Pink Floyd agree to score the film. Alas, the production did not come to fruition, purely because the creator’s vision was simply unachievable. With the film estimated to be 14 hours long and pre-production costs alone reaching a whopping 9.5 million, Jodorowsky finally lost the rights to the book in 1982 to Italian filmmaker Dino De Laurentiis, who eventually released the 1984 film Dune, that was directed by David Lynch. The director Frank Pavich created a very interesting documentary in 2014, describing the rise and fall of the immense project, aptly name Jodorowsky’s Dune which you can get here.
Fans of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel will definitely greet the news with a smile on their face. The fact that the material is densely written, made it’s faithful screen adaptation a difficult task. The world building and descriptions that are given in extreme detail were very hard to capture on screen. Having that problem solved, with the advancement of technology and the use of CGI, it was just a matter of allowing the film enough screen time to breathe. Villeneuve being a self-professed fan of the original novel has now made it clear that he too, agrees that you cannot fit the story into a standalone film.
The epic tale certainly needs more than one movie in order to be accurately depicted, but in the long run, it will all come down to the box-office success of the first installment. Nonetheless, we eagerly await to see Villeneuve’s vision come to life and hope it lives up to the hype and be worthy of the source material.
Do you agree that Dune needs to be more than one movie? Share your thoughts in the comments!