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Why Denis Villeneuve is "deeply inspired" by what he fears


Together with Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve is becoming a pioneer of contemporary Hollywood spectacle, creating wondrous worlds and compelling tales of existential gravitas. Since his international breakthrough with Incendies in 2010, Denis Villeneuve has only grown in significance, releasing Prisoners in 2013, followed by Arrival, Blade Runner 2049 and most recently, Dune

With an impressive ensemble cast including Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Dave Bautista and Oscar Issac, Denis Villeneuve’s take on the classic novel, Dune, will be 2021’s paramount cinematic spectacle. The classic tale from writer Frank Herbert film may well be steeped in sub-plot and careful intricacies but Villeneuve’s version of the film will look to wrangle the story and focus on the spectacle. Huge battle scenes coupled with giant monsters and stunning landscapes mean Dune will surely be a treat for all, sci-fi fan or not.

It’s a winding narrative that touches on several different sub-plots and themes, making visionary director Denis Villeneuve, the perfect filmmaker to tackle the subject. Speaking about the new release, the director notes in an interview with Slash Film: “At its core, you can see it from one angle as a powerful, epic adventure story, but it has so many themes that make the book so rich”. Continuing, the director adds, “We tried to keep the richness in the movie…humans, we need to earn our destiny in order to change the world. The movie is kind of a call to action for us to change things, especially for the youth”. 

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Such a grand undertaking for a director who has largely only tackled small-scale dramas, Denis Villeneuve explained such an ambitious project in conversation with the talk show host George Stroumboulopoulos. Stating that he is attracted to film projects that inspire fear, Villeneuve stated, “I think I’m really attracted by things I’m afraid of…I’m deeply inspired by what I fear and Polytechnique is a huge nightmare and I don’t understand why I did that movie, I still think it was very important and pertinent”. 

Continuing, the director adds, “The deep reason why I did that, it’s the same with Incendies, I know nothing about war and for me to approach it and to get closer a little bit more to it was frightening, but a great experience at the same time”. 

Interjecting, Stroumboulopoulos notes, “Do you think it’s the role of a director, or it’s your responsibility to address big issues like this?” to which Villeneuve gives a typically poetic response. 

“It’s not me who’s choosing the film, it’s the film that’s choosing me. What will inspire me next, I don’t know. Making cinema is a privilege… it’s a chance, and when you have the chance to use a camera you have to use it in order to talk about something that is very important for you, that’s why I chose those two subjects,” Denis Villeneuve concludes. 

Take a look at the trailer for Villeneuve’s highly anticipated Dune, below.