Denis Villeneuve in Talks to Direct ‘Dune’ Because Dreams Really Do Come True
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).
Variety reports that Villeneuve is in talks to direct a new adaptation of Dune for Legendary Pictures, which quietly secured the rights from Herbert’s estate just before the Thanksgiving holiday — those rights include the option to develop film and television projects based on the classic sci-fi novel. Though the report cautions that the talks are still early, it’s hard to imagine Villeneuve turning this opportunity down.
Just a few months back (in an interview with Variety, coincidentally), Villeneuve, who directed this year’s acclaimed sci-fi drama Arrival and the upcoming sequel to Blade Runner, revealed another big sci-fi property he’s been dying to make:
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.
Villeneuve may not have succeeded in securing the rights, but Legendary did, giving him the opportunity to fulfill that dream. There are potential obstacles, of course, including creative control, budgeting and possible mandates from the studio and / or Herbert’s estate, but barring anything too restrictive, I have to think Villeneuve is eager to take the job.
Dune was previously — and famously — adapted by David Lynch, resulting in a predictably bizarre film starring Kyle MacLachlan, Patrick Stewart, and Sting, among others. Here’s the synopsis for Herbert’s original book:
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family--and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.
A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what it undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.