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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