DENIS VILLENEUVE'S DREAMS OF ‘DUNE' REACH THE BIG SCREEN
AppleMagazine|October 22, 2021
It was the eyes that drew Denis Villeneuve to “Dune.”
Long before he’d decided to become a filmmaker, he was just a teenager browsing a bookstore when he spotted the cover of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel. But it wasn’t a hard sell for the biology-obsessed 14-year-old who had already learned that science fiction was a way to dream on a grand scale.

Then he read it and was mesmerized by the poetic, atmospheric story of a young man’s heroic journey that dealt with religion, politics, destiny, heritage, the environment, colonialism and giant space worms.

“It became an obsession,” Villeneuve, 54, said.

And it was just the beginning of a decade-spanning dream that is finally coming to fruition as his own version of “Dune” makes its way to North American theaters.

Villeneuve is not the first filmmaker who has dared to fantasize about making “Dune,” but he’s the first to see his vision realized in a way that might satisfy both fans and novices. For a book that has inspired so much science fiction over the past 50 years, from “Star Wars” to “Alien,” filmed adaptations have proved difficult. First there was Alejandro Jodorowsky’s near-mythic movie slash 14-hour event that would have starred Mick Jagger, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson and Salvador Dalí (chronicled in the 2013 documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune”). Then David Lynch’s swing was a critical and commercial flop when it was released in 1984.

“Dune” seemed cursed until producers Mary Parent and Cale Boyter acquired the rights through Legendary and found out that Villeneuve, who had established himself as a filmmaker with that rare ability to make large scale films that are cerebral and commercially viable, was a lifelong fan. Plans were set in motion to try to make “Dune” once more — with a $165 million production budget.

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