Last month, just before the holiday season, it was reported that director Denis Villeneuve, who is coming off the critically-acclaimed Arrival and is in post-production on Blade Runner 2049, is in talks to direct the Dune remake for Legendary Pictures. Today we have confirmation from Brian Herbert, author and the son of late Dune author Frank Herbert, that the filmmaker has officially signed on to direct this remake. Here's what Brian Herbert had to say on social media.
"It's official. Legendary Pictures has signed the very talented Denis Villeneuve to direct the exciting new Dune series film project."
We reported in November that Legendary Pictures has picked up the film and TV rights for Dune, and with Brian Herbert describing this as the "Dune series film project", it seems that Denis Villeneuve is developing both the movie and TV series as well. Brian Herbert wouldn't elaborate further in his Twitter statement, but the director signing on was something the filmmaker has always looked forward to. During an interview with Variety back in September, Denis Villeneuve mentioned making Dune as a "longstanding dream," months before Legendary picked up the rights.
"I had been wanting to do sci-fi for a very long time. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a movie that really impressed me as a teenager. And also "Blade Runner." And "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is also one of my favorites. I'm always looking for sci-fi material, and it's difficult to find original and strong material that's not just about weaponry. A longstanding dream of mine is to adapt Dune, but it's a long process to get the rights, and I don't think I will succeed. Also I would love to write something myself. I have two [sci-fi] projects right now that are in various stages. It's too early to talk about them."
Before Denis Villeneuve came aboard, the Dune reboot had been languishing in various stages of development for just under a decade. Back in December 2007, Peter Berg (Patriots Day) revealed that he had come aboard to direct Dune, with Joshua Zetumer (RoboCop) coming aboard to write the screenplay. Both the director and writer would eventually part ways with the project, with Pierre Morel, hot off his surprise 2009 hit Taken, coming aboard to direct in 2010, with Chase Palmer (IT) writing the script. Shortly after they both dropped the project, Paramount dropped the project in March 2011, and there was no traction on Dune until Legendary came through and obtained the rights just a few months ago.
Legendary's deal for Dune calls for the development and production of possible film and television projects for a global audience. The projects would be produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent and Cale Boyter, with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert serving as executive producers. Set in the distant future, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides whose family accepts control of the desert planet Arrakis. As the only producer of a highly valuable resource, control of Arrakis is highly contested among the noble families. After Paul and his family are betrayed, the story explores themes of politics, religion, and man's relationship to nature as Paul leads a rebellion to restore his family's control of Arrakis. Dune has long been considered the crown jewel of science fiction} properties. Its legacy and influence is witnessed in everything from Star Wars to The Matrix and often referred to as the science fiction version of Lord of the Rings with its sprawling world and multi-dimensional politics. Take a look at Brian Herbert's tweet below, as we wait for more on the Dune reboot.