Denis Villeneuve Confirms ‘Dune’ Will Be Released In Two Parts
Esteemed Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has quickly shot up the ranks of Hollywood’s top-shelf directors. While “Blade Runner 2049” wasn’t a box office hit, unable to earn even $100 million domestically, it was well respected, earning five Oscar nominations and two wins including the overdue statue for legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins. The movie earned the already-prized director clout, and he’s using it to make his “dream project,” an adaptation of Frank Herbert‘s classic science fiction novel ‘Dune,” which was made into a film by David Lynch back in 1984 (arguably his first and only misstep).
It’s an ambitious undertaking, one filled with scope and scale which feels rarer and rarer within today’s franchise-hungry Hollywood studio system. The fact that Villeneuve is seemingly being given creative carte-blanche for such a project is a reason for celebration.
Not too much has been known about “Dune” so far. Villeneuve had casually mentioned last March that his goal was “to make two films, maybe more.” And in speaking to the French media, the filmmaker confirmed his “Dune” adaptation would definitely split into two parts. “I wish I could direct both movies at the same time, but it would have been too expensive,” he told La Presse. “We’ll do them one at a time.” Villeneuve went on to state that he intends on beginning pre-production on Dune “soon.”
The director said the script is almost in place too. “Eric Roth [“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button“] has written the first draft and, on my side, I worked on it as well,” said Villeneuve, “I have not had such fun creatively since “Incendies.”
Herbert’s “Dune” is dense and sprawling and frankly demands one film to tell its story, so Villeneuve has the right approach. Undoubtedly, the budget will be huge and it speaks to the love of the “Blade Runner 2049” achievements that a studio like Legendary would double down and sink money into another, sure-to-be artful sci-fi epic.
Will that be the approach though? After “Blade Runner 2049,” Villeneuve said making the most expensive art-house movie wasn’t necessarily the best idea, “Let’s just say it would not be a good idea for me to make a movie like that twice,” he told the Telegraph. “It was only when I came out that I realized we had made a monster.”
Let’s hope he changes his mind, the movie connects with mainstream audiences, and he brings Roger Deakins along for the ride.