Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming science fiction film has many fans of the novel anxious to see the epic story translated to screen.
Frank Herberts 1965 science fiction novel Dune is the best selling science fiction novel of all time. Winning numerous awards, selling over 20 million copies and spawning five sequels, the Dune series has been once of the most successful sci-fi series ever created, and has gathered an impressive and loyal fanbase. When it was announced in late 2016 that Denis Villeneuve, known for such films as Sicario and Blade Runner 2049, was set to adapt and direct the novel, there was a surge of excitement that has been maintained up until now when the film is set to release on December 18th.
This is not the first time the novel has been adapted. There were many failed attempts before any filmmakers managed to complete a film adaptation. In 1974 French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky assembled an all-star cast including Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, Udo Kier, Alain Delon and Salvador Dali and hired Pink Floyd to write a soundtrack for a film adaptation of Dune. However, numerous problems plagued the project, such as Dali’s insistence on being paid $100,000 an hour, Jodorowsky’s script being 14 hours long and the eventual lack of any financial backing. A few years later Italian-American producer Dino De Laurentiis acquired the film rights and hired Frank Herbert to adapt his own work. Herbert’s script approximated to roughly three hours of screen time, and Ridley Scott, who had signed on as a director, started work instead on his film Blade Runner.
Following this, De Laurentiis hired legendary director of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet David Lynch to direct the adaptation. In 1984 the story of Dune was finally translated onto the big screen. Though Herbert himself was impressed with Lynch’s work, many fans were disappointed by the films straying from the original story. Both due to the length of the novel and the deep symbolism and rich world of the book, Dune seemed inimitable.
After another aborted attempt by Paramount Pictures in 2011, the announcement in 2014 threatened to follow previous promises of a faithful adaptation. Villeneuve, who has stated it has been a lifelong dream of his to adapt the novel, originally planned to release a two-part film but failed to secure production deals for two films, and it is unknown whether there will be a sequel at this time. Villeneuve has also stated that the film will address modern themes of over-exploitation of the earth and the ongoing environmental crisis, while it can be assumed, due to his dedication to the novel, the plot will remain largely the same.
The film will star a large cast of renowned and popular actors, including Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya Coleman. It will also feature a soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, one of the worlds most successful composers.
With such a rich and complicated story behind it and a cast and crew of filmmakers and actors of high acclaim, 2020’s Dune will prove to be one of the biggest film releases this year. It’s a highly welcome release following the drought that COVID-19 has caused in new releases, and it remains to be seen whether this adaptation will finally satisfy fans of the novel.
Subscribe to FIB’s Weekly Alchemy Report for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!