The Blade Runner 2049 director is in talks to helm the Dune reboot for Legendary. Denis Villeneuve is in early talks to direct Legendary’s Dune reboot for the company. Legendary has not commented on the news.
Villeneuve made his English-language debut a few years ago with Prisoners after more than a decade working in Canada. Early efforts like Maelström and the wrenching and still-relevant Polytechnique eventually led to an Oscar-nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, the brutally affecting Incendies. Now catching the attention of studio executives, he’s become highly prolific since then, also directing Enemy and Sicario; becoming one of the most in-demand directors in Hollywood.
Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, Legendary closed a deal with the Frank Herbert estate for the rights his iconic novel, granting the production entity not only rights to film, but also TV-based projects on the sci-fi property. Legendary Entertainment has acquired the rights from Frank Herbert’s estate for his iconic novel Dune. This should allow the studio to produce film and television projects, amounting to a possible franchise for the studio.
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 the planet 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 he leads a rebellion to restore his family’s control of Arrakis.
Villeneuve, whose Arrival is one of the best films of 2016, and whose forthcoming Blade Runner 2049 is one of the most anticipated titles of 2017, gushed about his affinity and joy of Herbert’s “Dune-verse”:
“I had been wanting to do sci-fi for a very long time. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a movie that really impressed me as a teenager. And also Blade Runner. And Close Encounters of the Third Kind is also one of my favorites. I’m always looking for sci-fi material, and it’s difficult to find original and strong material that’s not just about weaponry. 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. Also I would love to write something myself. I have two [sci-fi] projects right now that are in very [early] stages. It’s too early to talk about them.”
Dune was previously turned into a film in 1984 by David Lynch, which was a box-office and critical disaster. Making just $30.9 million at the box office, it was a confusing mess to those who hadn’t read the book and an unfaithful adaptation for fans of the book. In more recent years however, Lynch’s Dune has attained cult favorite status. Before Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky mounted his own attempt at adapting Dune in the 1970s. His version of the movie never came together, but his efforts were immortalized in the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune.
Images: Chilton Books, Universal Studios