Following ongoing speculation, the Venice Film Festival has confirmed that Denis Villeneuve will be returning following his success at the event with Arrival back in 2016, to premiere his latest sci-fi outing, Dune.
In the past, Warner Bros., who is the studio behind the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel, have premiered the likes of Joker, Gravity and A Star is Born at the revered festival. If the canal-lined streets of Venice were made for the romance of films then they are a studio that has put it to good effect.
The novel, which has proved notoriously difficult to adapt on previous occasions, sees “the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.”
The son in question is played by Timithée Chalamet this time out, as he battles to retain dominion over a drug called ‘Spice’ which prolongs human life and gives users special abilities. While it might sound a little bit slapstick sci-fi, there is a depth to the novel that elevates it beyond the plots outline and Denis Villeneuve’s cinematography work alongside Greig Fraser, once again, promises to be astounding.
Chalamet is joined in an all-star cast by Oscar Isaac, the up-and-coming Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Charlotte Rampling and Josh Brolin and Javier Barden reunite for the first time since their successful pairing in No Country for Old Men.
The film will now officially debut at Venice on the 3rd of September, but controversy still surrounds its commercial release. Warner Bros. (who financed one-quarter of the film with Legendary putting up the rest) handle distribution rights and have announced plans to release the movie in theatres on October 1st alongside a release on HBO Max for 31 days.
This plan has not gone down well with Villeneuve and it leaves the planned sequel in jeopardy. “There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here,” Villeneuve wrote in an essay for Variety. “It is all about the survival of a telecom mammoth, one that is currently bearing an astronomical debt of more than $150 billion. Therefore, even though ‘Dune’ is about cinema and audiences, AT&T is about its own survival on Wall Street. With HBO Max’s launch a failure thus far, AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention.”
As of yet, his outrage at the decision to mutually launch the film in theatres and streaming services on the same day has not changed Warner Bros. decision, however, we will update you if anything changes on that front.