Dune may be a tricky story to bring to the screen, but that hasn’t stopped people trying. Denis Villeneuve is the current custodian of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi epic. Before him was David Lynch.
Lynch’s 1984 film was a critical and financial failure at the time. It remains a curious beast, full of people staring off into the middle distance while their own subconscious earnestly whispers exposition. It removed swathes of the book and changed some key points. It does, however, have a tremendous cast, a genuinely different production design, and a soundtrack by progressive rock band Toto that owes more to Queen and Flash Gordon than it does to John Wiliams and Star Wars.
The studio interference was legendary, and Lynch has long since disowned the project, demonstrating no interest in all things Dune, including checking out Villeneuve’s version.
There was another. Way back in 2000, there was a three-part miniseries on the Sci-Fi Channel (pre-Sy). That starred William Hurt as Duke Leto Atreides and is still one of the highest-rated shows in Sci-Fi Channel history.
Four-and-a-half hours long, on a budget of just $20 million, it reinstated much that was missing from the Lynch version and was more faithful to the novel. It was written and directed by John Harrison, who has now given an interview to ComicBook.com about Villeneuve’s version:
“I’m very excited about it. Richard Rubenstein and I were still involved in the development of several attempts to try and get it off the ground after my miniseries. And maybe fortunately, some of those never came to pass because I think what Denis Villeneuve has done is just fantastic. And I love him as a director. I wasn’t involved at all in the latest movies except to have my name put up there. But I think it’s just fantastic and I’m really looking forward to the new ones.
And I hope it does introduce a whole new audience to the Dune world. If they are able to get back and see my miniseries, I’m very proud of them. We were able to… I think the success of them, they won a couple of Emmys and they were hugely successful here and abroad. I think they gave people faith that Dune actually could be adapted again.”
Villeneuve’s first Dune won six Oscars and pulled in an impressive $400 million at the box-office despite being released at the tail end of the pandemic, and with a day-and-date streaming release on HBO Max.
Dune Part Two will now be released on March 15th 2024.
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