For one of the densest and most ambitious science fiction novels of all time, it’s no wonder that many filmmakers have tried to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune, with Denis Villeneuve merely the latest in a short line of celebrated directors.
First of all, the Chilean-born avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky hoped to make an adaptation of Dune classic novel in 1974, starring Salvador Dalí and Orson Welles, with a crew including H. R. Giger and Pink Floyd. With some critics calling it “the greatest film never made”, the 14-hour recreation of the sci-fi masterpiece as a psychedelic experience could not manage to procure the funds for production.
The master of experimental independent filmmaking, David Lynch, was the next to try and adapt the novel, this time bringing the story into existence, albeit in a rather lacklustre version of the epic. Questioned about the film at a Q&A, the director stated: “I don’t even like talking about Dune really, but I’ve said before I knew when I was signing the contract that I was signing away final cut and from that moment I felt like, looking back, I started selling out”.
Denis Villeneuve is the latest filmmaker to take on the challenge, with his version starring an impressive range of Hollywood talent including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem. When asked about the previous adaptations of the Frank Herbert novel in an interview with Screenrant, Villeneuve responded: “I don’t want to compare myself to the two masters, I’m a big fan of their work, I’m like the biggest fan of Lynch, the same for Jodorowsky…but I will say that the key for me was to really make sure that I was as close as possible to the spirit of the book”.
Continuing, Villeneuve added, “My relationship with the book was so intimate that I was feeling that I would be able to bring something out of it that would feel true to the nature of the book, I didn’t think about the previous work that had been done, I just kept my focus on Frank Herbert’s novel. That was my bible, to this day it’s with me, beside me and was my main source of inspiration”.
Going on to outline the scope of his future plans for the series, the director noted, “Dune part 1 is like an introduction to a world, where we explain ‘who is who?’, ‘who’s doing what?’, ‘what is the technology here?’, ‘what is the culture here?’”.
Meanwhile, Villeneuve stated, “The second movie will be an opportunity to have much more fun with cinema…it will be more cinematic”.
Take a look at the trailer for the brand new film from Denis Villeneuve down below.