Hiring the guy who wrote Forrest Gump to pen the screenplay for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is an unexpected choice — you might even say it’s like a certain package of assorted candies, but I won’t say that. I mustn’t. Instead, let’s focus on Eric Roth’s other, more interesting (and arguably better) screenwriting credits, like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Munich. And for those reasons, Roth’s hiring for Villeneuve’s new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi story is fairly intriguing.
Last fall, while promoting the release of his stunning sci-fi drama Arrival, Denis Villeneuve revealed his dream project: A new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic Dune. It was, as Villeneuve said, an impossible dream; securing the rights from the author’s estate would be too difficult. Not long after, news broke that Villenueve’s impossible dream was close to becoming reality, as the director was in talks to helm a new adaptation of Dune. Today, that reality became official.
Like a group of silent, monolithic, clamshell-shaped intergalactic vessels, Arrival will make an unexpected appearance later this week. Denis Villeneuve’s high-concept sci-fi picture has had a cracking week already, scoring a whopping eight Oscar nominations during yesterday’s announcement, including key nods for Best Picture and Best Director. A little Oscar love can be a huge windfall for a film, drawing new viewers to cineplexes and upping box-office totals, but the trouble is that in most markets, Arrival has already left the rotation. So in an effort to capitalize on the recent bump in the film’s public profile, Paramount will send the film back from whence it came, returning to nationwide theaters for a limited run on Friday, January 27.
We have not one, but two new Blade Runner 2049 rumors today, both of which may reveal some interesting details about Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic. And while these details remain unconfirmed (for now), you may want to proceed with caution — potential spoilers ahead, you know the drill. But if you’re feeling particularly reckless today, please, by all means, read on.
If you’re a fan of Denis Villeneuve (raises hand) or just excited for Blade Runner 2049 (raises other hand — wait, how am I still typing), then you might recall a particularly interesting interview from September. In that interview, the director of Arrival revealed that it’s been a “longstanding dream” of his to direct a new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune — a pipe dream, really, since acquiring the rights presented a significant challenge. As it turns out, Villeneuve is living proof that impossible dreams can come true (with the right ideas and the right amount of cash).
The first trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s hotly anticipated Blade Runner 2049 materialized earlier this week, giving sci-fi diehards an eyeful of one of next year’s biggest-name tentpoles. There were appetizing visuals aplenty, a foreboding showdown between stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, reprising his role as Rick Deckard, and yet still so much remains unknown. What will this film’s rating be? How dreamy will Ryan Gosling’s eyes look, on a scale from 9 to 10? Will the blades get runned? Those last two will remain up in the air until the film’s release on October 6 of next year, but we do have a definitive answer for that first one.
That Roger Deakins, man. The dude knows how to use a movie camera.
It's arguably the point upon which the entirety of Ridley Scott's sci-fi magnum opus Blade Runner hinges: is Rick Deckard, the assassin played by a stony Harrison Ford, one of the very androids he sets out to destroy? The film poses all manner of questions about being and selfhood, and the answers a viewer takes away from the film depend almost entirely on the read of that central mystery. Ridley Scott has stated in no uncertain terms that Deckard was a replicant all along, but plenty of fans (including, at one point, Harrison Ford) have chosen to rule Deckard as human or instead accept the unknowability of it all.
Denis Villeneuve’s outstanding Arrival has wowed audiences and earned critical plaudits with its philosophical approach to sci-fi, its unusually deft look at linguistics, and its fundamental Amy Adams-ness. But plenty of attention has also been paid to the unusual design of the aliens that land on Earth and set off the events of the film, dubbed ‘heptapods’ by Adams’ character due to their seven-legged squid-like physiology, and to a lesser extent, because Adams is one hep cat. The heptapods, all silent and faceless and ash-colored, must be the most memorable aspect of this marvelous film, and yet they did not always look this way.
The 50th anniversary of Star Trek this week really put in perspective just how long we’ve been living with the concept of extraterrestrial. In 2016, there’s something downright familiar about aliens, maybe because in most situations our conception of them remains rooted in our conception of ourselves: They look like us with pointy ears or a ribbed nose, or they don’t look like us, but they behave like us, with motivations and actions that are easily recognizable and understandable. One of Arrival’s greatest achievements is the way it makes alien seem alien again: Strange and inhuman and beyond the limits of our comprehension. It readjusts our thinking about what life on other worlds might be like. And in doing so, it also readjusts our thinking about what life on our world can be like.