Long in development, a new big-screen version of Frank Herbert’s Dune is moving forward and may have found its star. Read onward to learn everything we know.
What’s the latest news?
Academy Award nominee Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name, top) is “in final talks” to star in Dune, according to Deadline. The actor can next be seen in the drama Beautiful Boy, due for release on October 12.
Who is directing?
Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049). The director said earlier this year that “the goal is to make two films, maybe more.”
What’s it about?
Published in 1965, Frank Herbert’s extremely popular and award-winning ecological novel revolves around a spice that is the most valuable commodity in a far-future, interstellar society, ruled by an emperor. The highly-addictive spice, which can heighten consciousness, extend lifespans, and enable interstellar travel, can only be found on the desert planet Arrakis, a.k.a. Dune, which is controlled by a noble family led by Paul Atreides. Given the value of the spice, everyone else in the universe wants to gain control of the planet.
Wasn’t this made before?
Yes. After a planned adaptation by visionary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain) fell through — watch the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune for the complete story — a new script was prepared and Ridley Scott boarded the project as director, with plans to split the book into two movies. Scott ultimately dropped out and David Lynch, fresh off the success of The Elephant Man, was hired.
Released in 1984, Lynch’s Dune starred Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides and a talented supporting cast that included Richard Jordan, Virginia Madsen, Brad Dourif, Patrick Stewart and Jose Ferrer. Reportedly, Lynch felt that his artistic control was compromised; various versions were released over time. The film did not fare well with critics, nor with audiences, though everyone seemed to love the giant sandworms.
The novel was adapted for television in 2000. Three years later a sequel followed, based on two of Herbert’s literary sequels.
Ten years ago, Paramount announced plans for a new version under the direction of Peter Berg (Hancock). Two years later, after Berg dropped out, Pierre Morel (Taken) was hired to direct. After he left the project too, Paramount decided not to pursue it.
When did current plans get underway?
Legendary Entertainment acquired the rights in 2016 and a few months later, Denis Villeneuve entered negotiations to direct an adaptation that he considered his dream project. He was confirmed to direct in early 2017, though first he had to complete Blade Runner 2049.
When might we see it?
No release date has been announced yet. Given the scale of the expected production, though, we shouldn’t expect to see the new Dune until late 2020 at the earliest.