When it comes to beloved sci-fi novels of old, you don’t get more rabid or fanatical than the fans of Frank Herbert’s Dune. But those fans have been under served by the screen adaptations of the material. While the Syfy Channel’s miniseries was a modest success, the 1984 movie version directed by David Lynch was huge flop. I reviewed the movie a couple of years ago (in Schlock & Awe) and got taken to task for finding it incomprehensible. What I really need is a filmmaker who gets the material! Someone like—if he gets his wish—Blade Runner 2 director Denis Villeneuve.
Villeneuve, who is hard at work on the Blade Runner sequel and whose latest film Arrival met with rave reviews (we really loved it!) in Toronto and Venice, said in an interview with Variety that he’d love to tackle the sweeping space opera in the future but recognizes it will be a long uphill battle.
“I’m always looking for sci-fi material, and it’s difficult to find original and strong material that’s not just about weaponry,” Villeneuve told the publication. “A longstanding dream of mine is to adapt Dune, but it’s a long process to get the rights, and I don’t think I will succeed.”
The rights he speaks of were once held by Paramount where the likes of Peter Berg and Taken‘s Pierre Morel were in the process of mounting a production, but both fell through. Since 2011, though, the rights have reverted to original holder Richard P. Rubenstein, perhaps best known for producing five George A. Romero films (including Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead). It would be a mighty expensive and time consuming endeavor for anybody to get those rights; even though nothing has been made from the book since the early 2000s, it’s still a very viable brand, and name recognition is king these days.
Villeneuve would be a brilliant choice to attempt another retelling of that nigh-unfilmable book series in all its “if Star Wars were as dense as Game of Thrones” glory. Every film he’s done so far has been gorgeous and tense, and he very clearly has an eye toward science fiction; we think he could establish himself as a new master of the genre, especially if the Blade Runner is good and does well.
And, not for nothing, if he could incorporate any of the bonkers elements of the production that Alejandro Jodorowsky was attempting in his failed version (depicted in the great documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune), we’d be immeasurably happy.
Let us know what you think about Denis Villeneuve, or anyone really, directing Dune in the comments below!
We’re stoked for fall movies!
Image: Dino De Laurentiis Corporation/Universal