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Dune to be directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049)

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Turnaround, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Turnaround

    Turnaround Member your mama warned you about Thread Starter

    New York
    Legendary Pictures recently acquired the film and TV rights to Dune from the Frank Herbert estate, and have brought Denis Villeneuve on to direct.

    Rotten Tomatoes: Director of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 to Return Us to Dune
    Arrival Director Denis Villeneuve Will Revisit Dune, and More Movie News << Movie & TV News and Interviews – Rotten Tomatoes »

    When director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners) first announced that he was directing the science fiction movie we now know as Arrival, it might have been acknowledged as a genre exercise, sort of like Christopher Nolan taking on Batman Begins.

    Then, when Villeneuve signed on for this year’s Blade Runner 2049 (10/6/17), it might have seemed like a natural progression from Arrival.

    With the news we heard late last month, however, it might be time to consider Denis Villeneuve as a a straight-up science fiction director. Specifically, we’re talking about the announcement, made just before Christmas, Villeneuve is signed with Legendary Entertainment to direct their recently acquired first adaptation of the Dune epic, based on Frank Herbert’s popular series of novels.

    If you are a fan of science fiction films, the oeuvre of director David Lynch, 1980s genre films in general, or any combination of the aforementioned, you may already know that Dune was first adapted as a feature film in 1984, and also as a mini-series on the SyFy channel. It’s a bit much to encapsulate in just one sentence, but the gist of Dune is that it’s a sprawling space opera revolving around the planet Arrakis, which is the source of a drug called the spice melange, which is integral in space travel. Herbert himself wrote six Dune novels, and his son Brian Herbert has cowritten over a dozen other additional Dune novels. So, yes, there is a rich backlog of stories, characters, and epics that could be used for several feature films and/or TV series. It’s unclear if Denis Villeneuve will be able to start work on the first Dune film anytime soon, or if he will also somehow be involved with the expected TV shows. In related news, the first Blade Runner 2049 trailer also debuted in the last month, which you may already know if watched Passengers or Assassin’s Creed in theaters during the last few weeks.

    Variety: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Helmer Denis Villeneuve Eyed to Direct ‘Dune’ Reboot (Exclusive)
    ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Helmer Denis Villeneuve Eyed to Direct ‘Dune’ Reboot (EXCLUSIVE) »
  2. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    San Antonio, TX
    No matter who is directing, I don't think they can do the story justice in one movie unless its a 4+ hour epic. If spread over multiple movies, maybe.
  3. Stratoblaster

    Stratoblaster A skeptical believer....

    Ontario, Canada
    I would agree with this; Dune is like the Lord Of The Rings, in that it's too big of a story to tell in a single movie unless it's a long one as you noted. I recently watched the 1984 movie and can see how it would very much confuse viewers if they didn't read Dune. While it's not spread over three books like LoTR, the novel has so much depth and detail that it would be difficult to translate all of that into one movie.

    I like the director and think he will do a good job on it at any rate; am pumped for the new Blade Runner...
    head_unit likes this.
  4. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    If Legendary do indeed hire Denis Villenueve as director of a new Dune adaptation, you can be certain it will be nothing less than a a big-screen adaptation... that's just plain common sense, and a story as epic as Dune deserves the kind of epic treatment you can only get on a theatrical feature.

    The book is a highly complex tapestry that would be difficult but not impossible to adapt into a single, cohesive three-hour movie... the key to doing it right is to focus on Paul Atreides' journey and build the script around that, which is what David Lynch (correctly) did in his 1984 adaptation, it wasn't Lynch's approach to the material that was wrong (in fact, the 6th draft, 135-page, shooting script is a superb distillation of the novel that makes complete sense), it was him being forced to compromise throughout and especially after production that held back that adaptation from achieving greatness.

    Bear in mind that for years, people thought that Watchmen was simply too complex to adapt into a single film, and that it could only be handled correctly as a television mini-series... that assertion proved false when Zack Snyder (of all people!) made a pretty faithful and frankly terrific adaptation in 2009, and did it in 162 minutes to boot!!! The same principle applies to Dune... simply put, you cannot and neither should you include every jot and tittle of the source novel in any new feature adaptation; you focus on the core story and concentrate on that and that alone.

    If Villenueve does come on board for Dune, you can expect either a single three-hour movie or told over two two-hour-plus movies... I'm good with either.
  5. chrischerm

    chrischerm Forum Resident

    If they do more than one movie, they should weave in Dune Messiah. I think it's a good compliment to Dune in the sense that it shows how the Atreides win and lose power, with a blind Paul following Fremen tradition and walking off into the desert. Like a galactic version of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
    marblesmike likes this.
  6. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    detroit, mi
    I'm good if it's multiple movies.

    If they can make 2 movies out of MockingJay or Breaking Dawn then this should be 4 or 5 movies.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  7. John Moschella

    John Moschella Senior Member

    Christiansburg, VA
    I welcome a reboot of Dune, but please, no voice-overs!
  8. And no Sting :tiphat:
    Jimmy Disco D and dewey02 like this.
  9. Good luck.

    Best Wishes.

    Hope it does well.

    I have very serious doubts that it can be pulled off successfully in this day and age. Too complex. Too much of the story is very difficult to relate to an audience through on screen action (hence the voice overs in the past attempts). This is one of my very favorite books of all times that I have read countless times. Great, great book. Even more amazing the last time I read it with all of the developments in the Middle East in the last Decade or so. Distubingly so.

    As far as the previous attempts, Lynch failed, IMO, due to several poor choices: The Weirding "Module" :shake:, and his portrayal of the Baron as a floating buffoon (suspensors relieved him of his weight as he walked, and was extremely devious with no morals) were my primary complaints along with poor choices for several of the roles.

    Not holding my breath.
    vertical, GodShifter and Deesky like this.
  10. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    That's why I think this sort of thing would be much better handled as a 10-12 episode series on Netflix or HBO. There would be room to breathe and to develop characters in greater depth without having to focus so much on fast paced action.

    It's always a challenge depicting a character's internal monologue from a book, especially if it's heavily reliant on it, but I think the extended TV format would be better able to handle it than a movie. And there's be plenty of material for multiple seasons.
  11. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Norfolk, UK
    I don't think it's necessary. I don't think the Dune franchise has the momentum or appeal to generate $650 million+ box office.

    It's damaged goods.
  12. tomhayes

    tomhayes Senior Member

    San Diego, Ca
    Hard to imagine splitting Dune into several movies - let's face it - the beginning of the book is a snoozefest with very little action.

    It's not until about 80 pages in do you understand that the first 80 pages are essential and have placed you into this world.

    I don't know how they can adapt that into a movie. they'll likely jettison it.

    Maybe they'd have to do a Star Wars type crawl - start on Arrakis and get Gom jabbar into that setting to explain what spice is, how the houses work - who the Bene Gesserit, how the Guild works, etc, etc, etc.

    I really think this would work better as a TV series - or a Netflix/Amazon/Hulu original. Sci-Fi tried it and failed - but in the right hands it could work.

    Snow Crash would make two great movies mroe than Dune.
    bpmd1962 and GodShifter like this.
  13. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    San Antonio, TX
    So, a text version of the Princess Irulan spoken intro we got in the 1984 movie?
    Stillhouse likes this.
  14. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Norfolk, UK
    Do the Stainless Steel Rat books instead. That's crying out for film treatment.

    And Dune has already been done as a TV series. That didn't do well either.
    ChazFromCali and ubiknik like this.
  15. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    I'd love to see some of the original 1970s Giger concepts adapted for this, but I agree it's been attempted twice to little avail. There are so many other great science fiction novels that deserve attention, and which would probably be easier to adapt.
    Scope J likes this.
  16. darkmass

    darkmass Forum Resident

    Let me cast my vote for Ted Sturgeon's "More Than Human". Could certainly be done in a few parts...however, modern audiences just might be a long, long way from having the skillset needed to follow it, let alone appreciate it.

    More Than Human - Wikipedia »
  17. Thievius

    Thievius Thingy

    Syracuse, NY
    I was into the Dune books in the 80s, is the franchise even popular anymore? I mean, I'm sure there are hardcore fans out there, I'm just not sure there's enough of an audience to translate into box office numbers. Dune is pretty out there, even for sci fi.
    Karnak, Derek Slazenger and daglesj like this.
  18. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    I'd love to see someone have a go at Alfred Bester's Fondly Fahrenheit. It's always seemed very cinematic to me.
  19. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Norfolk, UK
    I would still like a slightly retro take of the I, Robot stories. They would make a great Netflix series.

    If they have to remake Dune again then just throw $300 million at Jodorowsky as a tax loss and put a fork in it.
  20. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Toulouse, France
    It seems Villeneuve likes challenges: Blade Runner 2049 and now this...
    Both could fall as flat as a crêpe.
  21. chrischerm

    chrischerm Forum Resident

    I think it's just hard to conceptually visualize, cerebral science fiction books, because they're not always flashy. Dune, The Foundation, I-Robot, anything by PKD, are all story-driven works, allegorical to the human condition and the science fiction component is an added layer, or an enhancement to the story.

    In a movie, it's the reverse . The hard sci-fi part has to come through first, to draw the eye, then the story is stitched in overtop, (which is why it doesn't always work).
    MC Rag and Deesky like this.
  22. amonjamesduul

    amonjamesduul Forum Resident

    So will we finally get a God emperor of Dune movie?
    mr. steak likes this.
  23. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    Heinlein's Red Planet, if handled with a deft touch. And if Willis the Bouncer was not some over-the-top dumb animation. Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama? Cool story but maybe too slow.
    Solaris likes this.
  24. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    People have been trying to adapt Rama for years. Reading it is hypnotic but I can see how it would be hard to render effectively.

    I was trying to think of a Heinlein juvenile that would work. The one that came to mind first was Tunnel in the Sky, but I could see Red Planet too.
  25. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe 3 months since last false death report!

    It's great to see someone say something positive about Watchmen. So many fans of the comic were channeling Moore's negativity because Snyder had the nerve to jettison some of the - let's face it - stupid elements of the original comic. Dolls? Really? A giant space squid? Really?

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