Frank Herbert's sci-fi novel Dune—which spawned five sequels in Herbert's lifetime and prequels after his death—has been problematic for filmmakers, but that's not stopping director Peter Berg from developing a new movie he plans to direct.
Director David Lynch famously had problems adapting the sprawling book in 1984. Syfy's 2000 miniseries adaptation did a bit better in terms of audience and critical reception, but Berg feels there's still room for a new feature film.
"I think I had a much more different experience, I think, with the book than David Lynch did," Berg said in an exclusive interview on last week at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Pasadena, Calif., where he was promoting his Wayne Gretzky documentary for ESPN. "To me, I think my interpretation will feel significantly different from that and the [Syfy] Channel miniseries that aired. I have a different experience than both of those filmmakers did."
Lynch's film focused in part on the politics of the feuding houses of Herbert's novel, who contend while trying to control the flow of melange, the spice that facilitates space travel, which is found only on the desert planet of Arrakis.
Berg sees the story more as an epic adventure. "[The book] was much more muscular and adventurous, more violent and possibly even a little bit more fun," Berg said. "I think those are all elements of my experience of the book that can be brought in without offending the die-hard fans of the Bene Gesserit and Kwisatz Haderach. There's a more dynamic film to be made."
Before Berg can direct, a filmable Dune script just has to be finished within Berg's scheduling parameters. "I'm finishing this [documentary] now, we're editing it now," he said. "I think it's going to be in the Toronto Film Festival. [I'm] working now on getting Friday Night Lights up for the new season and getting Dune up and running. I'm working all the time."