Dune remake will be Star Wars for adults, says director Denis Villeneuve

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Jan 19, 2018, 1:52 PM EST

Denis Villeneuve, the French-Canadian director, is on a quest to modernize classic sci-fi films. He won rave reviews for his sequel to Blade Runner last year (even if it failed at the box office) and now has his sights set on tackling Frank Herbert's Dune. The 400-page novel published in 1965 is a complicated futuristic tale set on the desert planet of Arrakis, which contains the most valuable substance in the universe, a spice called melange.

Exploring everything from politics to technology to raw emotion, Herbert's work was adapted for the big screen by David Lynch (Eraserhead, Twin Peaks) in 1984 and was very poorly received, so much so that Lynch opted to be credited as Alan Smithee in some cuts of the film (at least three exist), a usual pseudonym for directors who disown their own works. The drama supposedly arose from Lynch being restricted, and denied final cut privileges.

Many believe that filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's vision for Dune would have yielded a much better sci-fi epic, but sadly funding fell through (and, according to some accounts, his script would have produced a 14-hour movie). With today's modern techniques of filmmaking, however, Villeneuve may have the chance to make the Dune we never saw and that's not just conjecture because he's got big plans for the project

Speaking to Fandom, he said, “The ambition is to do the Star Wars movie I never saw. In a way, it’s Star Wars for adults. We’ll see.”

The obvious takeaway is that this is a movie that will be allowed to have nudity and cursing just as Game of Thrones is like the Lord of the Rings for adults. Moreover, if it hews closely to the book, it could certainly be more nuanced and much darker in its approach to the genre of science fiction. 

Nevertheless, the director added that he won't be using Jodorowsky as a jumping-off point, but forging his own path. It'll be the Dune we never got see, just not in the way you're thinking. 

"Jodorowsky is a very unique visionary," said Villeneuve. "I am a total different human being. It would be very presumptuous and arrogant for me to try... I think he’s a fantastic filmmaker and I would have loved to see his Dune. I think it would be a very singular Jodorowsky movie. Will it have been the vision I have for Dune? Very far away.”

While no final script has yet been completed for the remake, Villeneuve said he would consider doing a sequel if the first one does well, but he's hesitant to commit at such an early stage.

"I’m used to talking about projects when they’re shot, finished, I’m in the editing room, I’m about to release the movie. Then you talk about something real," he said. "Right now, I might in three weeks or two months learn that nobody agrees on a screenplay, it will be with someone else. It can happen. And when the movie will be made? It’s all theory right now.”

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