A proper film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s landmark sci-fi work Dune has plagued even some of our most imaginative filmmakers for years. Alejandro Jodorowsky sunk so much of himself into his aborted 1973 adaptation that it later begat the documentary Jodrowsky’s Dune. David Lynch’s endlessly disputed 1984 rendition made it to theaters, and is argued by many to be one of Lynch’s lesser films, for all of its visual invention. Multiple film versions were rumored in recent years, with Peter Berg attached at one point, but now it seems that Denis Villeneuve, fresh off his masterful Blade Runner 2049, will be the director to do it.
In what might prove beneficial, given the scope of Dune as a story, Villeneuve recently confirmed that he plans to split the adaptation into two films, still likely to be substantial in length each. While speaking to the Quebec publication La Presse, he mentioned the news while touching on the process of turning Herbert’s 896-page epic into a cohesive feature (or set of them): “Eric Roth wrote the first draft and I worked on my side afterwards… I have not had such fun on the creative side since Incendies! My wish would have been to make both films at the same time, but it will be too expensive. We will do them one at a time.”
Production has not yet kicked off on Villeneuve’s ambitious undertaking, but if 2049 and Arrival are any indication, there may not be a better-suited director working today to bring something as truly far-reaching as Dune to new life. There is not yet any word at this time on whether Sting will once again be involved.