Friday, December 23, 2016

Fingers Crossed: 'Arrival' Director Denis Villeneuve May Direct A 'Dune' Adaptation

Admittedly, this isn’t the freshest bit of news, but since it came out a few days ago, I haven’t stopped thinking about it for more than a couple of minutes. After he floored me with Arrival and wowed me with that brief Blade Runner 2049 teaser trailer, I keep saying that I hope director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) continues to splash around in the science fiction end of the pool. And it looks like he may do just that. Reports say he could helm an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s legendary sci-fi novel Dune.

Legendary scored the rights to Dune just before Thanksgiving, and Variety reports that Denis Villeneuve is in early talks to take the helm. God damn, that’s good news. I mean that for fans of the book, fans of great science fiction, and fans of movies that generally kick all of the ass. Let’s all hope this comes to pass.

Since it was first published in 1965, Dune has become one of the most influential sci-fi novels of all time. Spanning dozens of books, the franchise is still growing as Herbert’s son Brian Herbert continues to contribute to the expansive world his father created.

Set in the distant future, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a young noble whose family takes control over the desert planet Arrakis, which produces spice, a coveted, valuable commodity. After his family is betrayed, Paul leads a rebellion to reclaim his rightful place.

An epic work, in Dune, Herbert created a sprawling universe of disparate worlds, family rivalries, and explores themes of religion, declining empires, environmental destruction, gender dynamics, resistance to oppression, and more. All of which makes the story remarkably current.

David Lynch adapted the seemingly unadaptable Dune in 1984, and though it’s attained a bit of a cult status, the film is largely derided by fans of the book. (Watch Jodorowsky’s Dune for a chronicle of groundbreaking director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempts to bring the novel to the screen—oh, what could have been.) In 2000 SyFy (then the Sci-Fi Channel) produced a miniseries.

Since 2008, there’s been a new push for adaptation, with directors like Pierre Morel (Taken) and Peter Berg (Deepwater Horizon) attached at various points. None of those have come to fruition, but holy shit the idea of Denis Villeneuve directing Dune is an enticing one indeed. He has a handle on the scope and size required, but also tension and thematic density that’s so integral to the story. I really, really hope this happens.

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