Looks like Denis Villeneuve needs to learn how to walk without rhythm, as THR is reporting that the acclaimed Canadian filmmaker is currently in talks for a new feature film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. You may recall the recent news that Legendary had picked up the film and TV rights to Herbert’s much celebrated sci-fi magnus opus, and it seems that they’re wasting no time in adapting the 1965 novel.
With that news a brand new synopsis was also revealed for Dune:
Set in the distant future, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides whose family accepts control of the desert planet Arrakis. As the only producer of a highly valuable resource, control of Arrakis is highly contested among the noble families. After Paul and his family are betrayed, the story explores themes of politics, religion, and man’s relationship to nature as Paul leads a rebellion to restore his family’s control of Arrakis.
Over the last few years, Villeneuve has emerged as one of Hollywood’s finest filmmakers, producing such stunning films as the mind-bending Enemy, the emotionally turbulent Prisoners and the super-intense Sicario (the last two of which saw some Oscar nomination love). This year saw him break away from the thriller/drama category to give us Arrival, one of the finest sci-fi films in years. And he kept things in that wheelhouse with Blade Runner 2049, the much anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 seminal sci-fi classic.
The first teaser trailer for Blade Runner 2049 dropped just a few days ago, and had fans foaming at the mouth in anticipation, but it would appear that Villeneuve wants to give them one more reason to celebrate. And as said fan, celebrate I damn well shall!
Villeneuve has an absolutely amazing grasp of visual storytelling, mixing jawdropping cinematography with intense narratives and complex characters. All abilities that will serve him perfectly in bringing Dune to the screen. Of course, Dune is far more… weird than anything Villeneuve has ever done, featuring giant sandworms, flamboyant religious sects, a messianic central character and much more. But I’ve yet to see Villeneuve falter on anything he’s done thus far, so I have complete faith in him pulling this off.
Ever since its original release, Hollywood has been intrigued by Dune. There were several failed attempts to adapt it to the big screen – including Spanish auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky’s famous botched effort – before David Lynch eventually produced his own version in 1984. Although the film definitely has its horde of fans (because who can not love Sting in with that crazy hair and leather underpants?!) it was not favourably received by critics, as it tried to cram all Herbert’s complicated storytelling into a two-hour movie.
In 2000, SyFy (or as it was known back then when sanity prevailed, The Sci-Fi Channel) developed their own miniseries adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune, and followed that up three years later with Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune, which combined and adapted the original novel’s sequels “Dune Messiah” and “Children of Dune”. Both miniseries were very highly rated and won 3 Emmy Awards between them.
Further attempts to adapt Dune for the big screen would see Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon) first try and fail, before the same fate befell another adaptation which was to be helmed by Pierre Morel (Taken, From Paris With Love). And I’m really happy that those attempts came to nothing, because now it means that a much better filmmaker gets a crack at it.