Denis Villeneuve names Dune as ‘most difficult’ project to date

Denis Villeneuve has described making Dune as “the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life”. The director, who is known for making critically acclaimed movies such as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, has admitted adapting Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci…

Denis Villeneuve has described making Dune as “the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life”.

The director, who is known for making critically acclaimed movies such as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, has admitted adapting Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi epic novel for its latest big-screen adaptation has been hard work.

“It’s a book that tackles politics, religion, ecology, spirituality – and with a lot of characters,” Villeneuve told Vanity Fair magazine. “I think that’s why it’s so difficult. Honestly, it’s by far the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life.”

Dune is set in a distant future and follows the complex story of royal houses who battle for control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of a drug named “the spice”, which can give people superhuman powers and is, therefore, the most valuable commodity in the universe. The scale and breadth of the story has confounded others, but Villeneuve realised early on that he needed to break the sprawling narrative in half.

“I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie,” he explained. “The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details.”

The Sicario filmmaker wrote the screenplay with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts and shot the film in desert locations in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates with a vast ensemble cast including Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, and Javier Bardem.

And while the book was written 55 years ago, he believes the story of a planet being mined to death is still very relevant today.

“No matter what you believe, Earth is changing, and we will have to adapt,” the 52-year-old stated. “That’s why I think that Dune, this book, was written in the 20th century. It was a distant portrait of the reality of the oil and the capitalism and the exploitation – the overexploitation – of Earth. Today, things are just worse. It’s a coming-of-age story, but also a call for action for the youth.”

The first part of Dune is set to be released on 18 December.

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Daveed Diggs in final talks for The Little Mermaid role – report

Daveed Diggs is reportedly in the final stages of negotiations to join the line-up of Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.According to editors at Variety, the Hamilton actor is the studio’s top choice for the role of Sebastian – the crab …

Daveed Diggs is reportedly in the final stages of negotiations to join the line-up of Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

According to editors at Variety, the Hamilton actor is the studio’s top choice for the role of Sebastian – the crab who is King Triton’s advisor – and will perform the iconic song Under the Sea, which appeared in the 1989 animated original.

The role was previously voiced by Samuel E. Wright.

Producers are currently casting for the flick, which begins production next year, with singer/actress Halle Bailey confirmed to play mermaid princess Ariel in the film.

Elsewhere, Javier Bardem is rumoured to be in talks to portray Triton, and Melissa McCarthy has long been linked to the part of sea witch Ursula.

Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay are also attached to play Scuttle and Flounder, respectively, but director Rob Marshall is yet to settle on an actor to play Prince Eric.

Singer Harry Styles was previously in the running for the lead role, but ultimately decided to pass on the opportunity, with other young actors including Cameron Cuffe, Jonah Hauer-King, Christian Navarro, and Asher Angel among those to audition.

Diggs originated the parts of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in the original production of Hamilton, winning both a Grammy Award and a Tony Award for his performance.

He has also appeared in films such as Wonder and Blindspotting, and will next be seen onscreen as Andre Layton in TV series Snowpiercer.

A release date for Marshall’s The Little Mermaid has not yet been announced.

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Harry Styles passes on role of Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid

Harry Styles has passed on the role of Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid remake.In recent weeks, it was reported that the One Direction singer was in talks to play human prince Eric opposite Halle Bailey as mermaid Ariel in Rob Marshall’s upcoming li…

Harry Styles has passed on the role of Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid remake.

In recent weeks, it was reported that the One Direction singer was in talks to play human prince Eric opposite Halle Bailey as mermaid Ariel in Rob Marshall’s upcoming live-action reboot of the 1989 animated Disney classic.  

On Tuesday, the speculation stepped up a notch when employees at both AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas in the U.S. posted on Twitter that Harry had been cast as Eric, however, a representative for the star later confirmed that the messages were inaccurate and told Rolling Stone, “Although he is a fan of the project he has respectfully passed.” 

The incorrect posts have since been deleted from both cinema chains’ Twitter pages.  

According to editors at The Wrap, Marshall is set to announce further casting details in coming weeks, with production due to begin in early 2020. A potential release date has not been announced.  

So far, Melissa McCarthy has been linked to the role of the evil sea witch Ursula, while Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina and Room’s Jacob Tremblay are set to feature as seagull Scuttle and Ariel’s fish best friend Flounder, respectively. Javier Bardem is rumoured to be taking on the role of King Triton.   

Jane Goldman and David Magee are working on the script, while Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda is teaming up with original The Little Mermaid composer, Alan Menken, on the score. It is believed the film will contain updated versions of songs such as Part of Your World and Under the Sea.  

Since One Direction went on hiatus in 2016, Harry, 25, has pursued a career in Hollywood, having landed a major role in Christopher Nolan’s war epic Dunkirk in 2017.  

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Halle Bailey: ‘Playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid is a dream come true’

Halle Bailey couldn’t be more excited about playing Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.The 19-year-old hit headlines in July when it was announced she would be the leading lady in the reboot of the 1989 animated musical, as soci…

Halle Bailey couldn’t be more excited about playing Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

The 19-year-old hit headlines in July when it was announced she would be the leading lady in the reboot of the 1989 animated musical, as social media users were divided about her casting, with some praising the news and others expressing outrage over an African-American playing the traditionally Caucasian character.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday, the singer gushed that she’s “honoured” to have landed the part.

“It means so much to me… I feel very honoured and really grateful for the opportunity,” she shared. “Ariel was one of my favourite princesses growing up so it’s a dream come true. I’m very excited and happy.”

The teenager added she’s looking forward to singing Ariel’s power ballad Part of Your World, and also promised that the project is going to be “amazing and beautiful”.

It has been rumoured that One Direction’s Harry Styles will play Ariel’s love interest Prince Eric, but Halle remained coy when asked about the actors in the running for the part.

“Oh, I don’t mind. I think that anyone would be great for it,” the R&B star commented.

Elsewhere, Halle’s 21-year-old sister Chloe, with whom she forms musical duo Chloe x Halle, said she was “so proud” of her sibling and “can’t wait” to see her performance.

In Rob Marshall’s reboot, Halle will be joined by Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina and Room actor Jacob Tremblay, who are set to portray seagull Scuttle and fish Flounder, respectively, while Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy are rumoured to be playing King Triton and sea witch Ursula.

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Javier Bardem in talks to join live-action The Little Mermaid – report

Javier Bardem is reportedly in talks to join the cast of the upcoming Disney remake of The Little Mermaid.The Oscar-winning actor is circling the role of mermaid princess Ariel’s father King Triton, according to editors at website The Disinsider, with …

Javier Bardem is reportedly in talks to join the cast of the upcoming Disney remake of The Little Mermaid.

The Oscar-winning actor is circling the role of mermaid princess Ariel’s father King Triton, according to editors at website The Disinsider, with the report also confirmed by Deadline.

If cast, Bardem will join R&B singer Halle Bailey, who has been announced as Ariel, while Harry Styles has become an early favourite to land the role of love interest Prince Eric.

Melissa McCarthy, Jacob Tremblay, and Awkwafina have also been linked to parts in the film, a remake of the 1989 animated classic, to be directed by Chicago filmmaker Rob Marshall.

Earlier this month, Terry Crews put himself forward for the role of King Triton, sharing a digitally altered picture of himself as the underwater ruler on Twitter.

“Ariel’s Dad!!!!” the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor captioned the image.

He’s not the only star fighting for a role in the film – singer Lizzo is also keen to take on the part of sea witch Ursula in the movie, and recently posted footage of herself dressed up as the octopus online and appeared to audition for the part.

Bardem has previously worked with Disney on 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, in which he played the main antagonist Armando Salazar. The 50-year-old most recently starred in Everybody Knows opposite his wife Penelope Cruz, is currently filming Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, a feature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel, and is in the post-production phases of Sally Potter’s drama Molly, which follows a turbulent 24 hours in the life of a father and daughter.

The live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is expected to begin filming shortly. A potential release date has not been announced.

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Javier Bardem: ‘I would have paid to be in Dune!’

Javier Bardem has joked that he would have paid to star in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming sci-fi drama Dune.The film, slated for a 2020 release, has attracted an impressive list of stars, including Bardem, Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothee Chalamet,…

Javier Bardem has joked that he would have paid to star in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming sci-fi drama Dune.

The film, slated for a 2020 release, has attracted an impressive list of stars, including Bardem, Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothee Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Zendaya and Oscar Isaac.

Bardem says he had no hesitation when Villeneuve approached him about playing Stilgar in his new film.

“The most important thing is that I love Denis, since Prisoners. What a luxury! He asked me if I would ever be interested in being part of Dune. Are you kidding? How much do I have to pay?” he said to Cinema Blend. “It’s one of those blessings that you have in this amazing, blessed life that I happen to have: having a job that I love, and make a living with, and also work with people that I truly admire and respect, and I’m getting inspired by it. It’s a lot.”

Villeneuve is rebooting David Lynch’s 1984 cult version of Dune, which was based on Frank Herbert’s book of the same name, with Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling and Stellan Skarsgard also on the cast list.

Lynch’s go-to actor Kyle MacLachlan, who starred in the original, recently shared his thoughts on the remake.

“I’m curious to see what happens, you know, he’s (Villeneuve) getting together a great cast obviously, really talented people,” he said to BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM. “It’s a challenging piece of material to try to bring to the screen, so I wish him luck with that, if anyone can do it, he’ll do a great job. He’s a terrific filmmaker.

“The book, I’m kind of a nerd about the book. I read it when I was 15 for the first time. I know the book very well. There are three sections, you can break that into three movies and still have a lot left over.”

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Jason Momoa joins Dune remake

Jason Momoa is in talks to join the star-studded cast of the Dune remake. The Aquaman actor is reportedly in negotiations to play swordmaster Duncan Idaho in Denis Villeneuve’s reboot of David Lynch’s 1984 cult sci-fi epic. If he cuts a deal, Momoa …

Jason Momoa is in talks to join the star-studded cast of the Dune remake.

The Aquaman actor is reportedly in negotiations to play swordmaster Duncan Idaho in Denis Villeneuve’s reboot of David Lynch’s 1984 cult sci-fi epic.

If he cuts a deal, Momoa will join an impressive cast list which currently includes Timothee Chalamet, Stellan Skarsgard, Javier Bardem, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista and Josh Brolin.

Set in the distant future, Dune tells the story of Chalamet’s character Paul Atreides whose family assumes control of the desert planet Arrakis which is the only source of a drug known as “the spice”, a highly valuable commodity. This sparks a fight for control among competing noble families, and after Atreides is betrayed, he leads a rebellion to restore his family’s reign over the planet.

Momoa’s character Duncan belongs to the house of Atreides and serves as the right-hand man to Paul’s father Duke Leto Atreides, played by Oscar Isaac.

Villeneuve, who helmed films such as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, is directing and producing from a script he co-wrote with A Star is Born’s current Oscar nominee Eric Roth and Prometheus’ Jon Spaihts. Brian Herbert, the son of Dune author Frank Herbert, will serve also a producer with his daughter Kim, while Kevin J. Anderson, who co-wrote the Dune prequel book series with Brian, will act as creative consultant.

The 1984 movie, based on Herbert’s 1965 novel, starred Kyle MacLachlan and was a critical and commercial failure that went on to become a cult hit and spawn TV shows and video games.

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Penelope Cruz required medical treatment on set when movie panic attack stressed her out

Penelope Cruz needed medical help on the set of her new film Everybody Knows when a fake panic attack became the real thing. The Vicky Cristina Barcelona star, who plays a desperate mother trying to track down her daughter after she disappears at a we…

Penelope Cruz needed medical help on the set of her new film Everybody Knows when a fake panic attack became the real thing.

The Vicky Cristina Barcelona star, who plays a desperate mother trying to track down her daughter after she disappears at a wedding, had to act out a panic attack in one scene and admits her acting talents triggered a real-life health emergency.

“All of my scenes were very intense,” she tells The Wrap. “In one scene I have a panic attack in a car, and I ended up in an ambulance myself. It was just from hyperventilation and from my blood sugar going very high from the stress of the scene.

“I remember getting out of the ambulance, and (director) Asghar (Farhadi) made sure I was OK.”

However, Farhadi was ready to have Penelope jump right back into the scene after she was medically cleared.

“He asked me for one more take,” she says. “I know he was worried about me, and that was the most important thing, but after that, he wanted one more. And I never felt that he was crossing the line. He was always very respectful, but of course he went for the truth.”

Cruz stars in the film alongside her real-life husband Javier Bardem, who insists Everybody Knows will be one of the last films they make together for a while.

“It’s delicate, putting ourselves in front of a camera together,” he says. “We don’t want to be doing something that is not worth the time that we are going to be spending together on it. We get along great on screen and we work together very well, but we don’t want to do it just because. It has to be special.”

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Penelope Cruz stuns in new Swarovski campaign

Penelope Cruz has been unveiled as the face of a stunning campaign showcasing new pieces from Atelier Swarovski. The Spanish actress is featured in the glamorous ads wearing the jewels from the brand’s MoonSun line, which she pairs with an elegant bla…

Penelope Cruz has been unveiled as the face of a stunning campaign showcasing new pieces from Atelier Swarovski.

The Spanish actress is featured in the glamorous ads wearing the jewels from the brand’s MoonSun line, which she pairs with an elegant black, strapless gown. The 44 year old poses with necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and hairpieces.

“I am proud of my partnership with Atelier Swarovski, and I feel lucky to be in a position where I can to help to shine a light on conscious luxury and create products that have a positive impact,” Cruz said in a statement.

The beauty also shared her excitement about collaborating with photographer’s Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

“It was so wonderful working with Mert & Marcus on this campaign,” she gushed. “Like my Atelier Swarovski collections, they make me feel as well as look beautiful.”

Cruz first teamed up with bosses at the luxury accessories label last May (18) for a collection she named Luna, after her daughter with husband Javier Bardem.

“We were delighted to collaborate with the inspirational Mert & Marcus to capture Penelope Cruz for our latest Atelier Swarovski jewellery campaign,” Swarovski creative director Nadja Swarovski said in a press release. “It is our pleasure to have Penelope, who has brought her incredible creative energy to design these collections herself, as our global brand ambassador, promoting our shared vision of conscious luxury – truly beautiful products with compassion and sustainability at their heart.”

Meanwhile, in a new interview with W magazine, Cruz revealed how motherhood has changed her style.

“Since I have kids, my style has gotten more practical,” she told the publication. “I do like fashion but I also have to think about what works in a practical way. I used to wear heels every day, and now it’s only if I have an event.”

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Penelope Cruz teams with PETA for anti-fur message

Penelope Cruz is the latest star to join forces with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to headline an anti-fur campaign aimed at the fashion industry. The actress has teamed with the animal rights organisation to call attention to the…

Penelope Cruz is the latest star to join forces with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to headline an anti-fur campaign aimed at the fashion industry.

The actress has teamed with the animal rights organisation to call attention to the unsettling ways fur is obtained from animals and in a new video she appears holding a cat alongside the message “Make Us Purr, Don’t Wear Fur”.

The ad comes in a year when several fashion designers announced they will no longer include fur in their creations – Burberry, Gucci, Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg, and John Galliano are among the latest wave of fashion houses choosing not to go with pelts.

“Finally, so many designers are going fur-free, and I’m looking forward to the day when no animal is caged or trapped and killed for fur,” the Spanish beauty says in a press release.

Cruz previously partnered with PETA for an anti-fur ad in 2012 and joins a long list of stars like Eva Mendes, Charlize Theron, Taraji P. Henson, Ireland Basinger-Baldwin, P!nk, and Maggie Q, who have condemned the use of fur in fashion.

The 44 year old has been a vocal supporter of animal rights throughout her career – she and her husband, Javier Bardem, are both animal lovers who have taken in multiple rescue cats and dogs. In 2007, she and her sister, Monica Cruz, launched a cruelty free collection for the clothing brand Mango.

The star has also chosen to be a part of sustainable fashion ventures – in August (18), she signed on to create a Swarovski jewellery line featuring pieces with responsibly-sourced gold.

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