Rebecca Ferguson praises Denis Villeneuve for expanding Dune character’s role

Rebecca Ferguson has praised her Dune director Denis Villeneuve for improving the female characters’ storylines in the sci-fi epic.The Mission: Impossible – Fallout actress plays Lady Jessica, the mother of Timothee Chalamet’s young royal Paul At…

Rebecca Ferguson has praised her Dune director Denis Villeneuve for improving the female characters’ storylines in the sci-fi epic.

The Mission: Impossible – Fallout actress plays Lady Jessica, the mother of Timothee Chalamet’s young royal Paul Atreides and concubine to Oscar Isaac’s Duke Leto, in the Arrival filmmaker’s new two-movie adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel.

Lady Jessica is a member of the Bene Gesserit, a sect of women who can read minds, control people with their voices, and manipulate the balance of power in the universe, and her duty is to deliver a saviour to the universe. In the new film, she is a “warrior priestess”, more fearsome than ever, and accordingly, Ferguson was thrilled with the expansion of her character.

“She’s a mother, she’s a concubine, she’s a soldier,” she told Vanity Fair magazine. “Denis was very respectful of Frank’s work in the book, (but) the quality of the arcs for much of the women have been brought up to a new level. There were some shifts he did, and they are beautifully portrayed now.”

The Blade Runner 2049 director wasn’t satisfied with just improving Lady Jessica’s story and wanted more female characters in the ensemble cast, so he made Dr. Liet-Kynes, a leading ecologist and peacekeeper, a woman and cast British actress Sharon Duncan-Brewster in the role.

“What Denis had stated to me was there was a lack of female characters in his cast, and he had always been very feminist, pro-women, and wanted to write the role for a woman,” said the Rogue One star. “This human being manages to basically keep the peace amongst many people. Women are very good at that, so why can’t Kynes be a woman? Why shouldn’t Kynes be a woman?”

The first half of Dune will be released in cinemas in December.

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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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Timothee Chalamet struggled with scorching temperatures while filming Dune

Timothee Chalamet struggled to shoot the new Dune movie in scorching desert temperatures.The Oscar-nominated actor stars as young royal Paul Atreides in director Denis Villeneuve’s remake of the sci-fi epic, and in an interview with Vanity Fair magazin…

Timothee Chalamet struggled to shoot the new Dune movie in scorching desert temperatures.

The Oscar-nominated actor stars as young royal Paul Atreides in director Denis Villeneuve’s remake of the sci-fi epic, and in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine accompanying new images from the movie, the Call Me by Your Name star revealed the difficulties of filming in the desert.

“I remember going out of my room at 2am, and it being probably 100 degrees,” he recalled. “The shooting temperature was sometimes 120 degrees. They put a cap on it out there, if it gets too hot. I forget what the exact number is, but you can’t keep working.”

Chalamet and his co-star Rebecca Ferguson wore thick, rubbery armoured costumes, called stillsuits, during filming, and this helped them to realistically portray their characters’ frustration and tiredness while in the desert.

“In a really grounded way, it was helpful to be in the stillsuits and to be at that level of exhaustion,” he shared.

The film was shot in remote desert locations in Jordan and on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the 24-year-old found the shoot to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“It was really surreal. There are these Goliath landscapes, which you may imagine existing on planets in our universe, but not on Earth,” Chalamet explained.

The Vanity Fair images also showed his co-stars Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin in costume as their characters.

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 latest adaptation of Frank Herbert’s book is being released in two instalments, the first of which is set to hit cinemas on 18 December.

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Paul Schrader blasts producers for shutting down movie due to coronavirus

Paul Schrader has blasted producers for shutting down filming on The Card Counter after an actor was diagnosed with coronavirus.The director, who wrote Martin Scorsese’s films Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, took to Facebook to complain about the situatio…

Paul Schrader has blasted producers for shutting down filming on The Card Counter after an actor was diagnosed with coronavirus.

The director, who wrote Martin Scorsese’s films Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, took to Facebook to complain about the situation, and revealed that production had been stopped five days before it was due to finish “because an LA day player had the coronavirus”.

“Myself, I would have shot through hellfire rain to complete the film. I’m old and asthmatic, what better way to die than on the job?” he wrote in a brief post on the social media site.

And when asked by one follower about the safety of the cast and crew on the set of the film in Biloxi, Mississippi, Schrader simply replied: “It’s a good death.”

The crime drama is being produced by LB Entertainment, in association with HanWay Films, and distributed by Front Row Filmed Entertainment.

In addition to directing, the 73-year-old wrote the script for The Card Counter, which stars Oscar Isaac as a professional gambler called William Tell, who takes a young man, played by Tye Sheridan, under his wing to help him get revenge against a mutual enemy on the casino circuit.

Willem Dafoe and Tiffany Haddish are also starring in the movie, and it’s understood that the actor who tested positive is not one of the main cast members.

Schrader’s film is not the only Hollywood production to be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Production on Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley movie was halted after its star Tom Hanks, as well as his wife Rita Wilson, contracted the virus, while filming on Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, was postponed as director Destin Daniel Cretton tested for it, although his results came back negative.

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J.J. Abrams ‘respects’ critics of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

J.J. Abrams “totally gets” why some fans didn’t like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.The latest movie in the science-fiction franchise, which starred Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac, received a mixed reaction from fans and critics alike fol…

J.J. Abrams “totally gets” why some fans didn’t like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The latest movie in the science-fiction franchise, which starred Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac, received a mixed reaction from fans and critics alike following its release in December and is now the lowest-rated film in the nine-episode saga, with 52 per cent on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.

Addressing the reception to the film in a chat with the Press Association, Abrams, who directed the movie, insisted that he respects all opinions, whether positive or negative.

“(Reaction was) good, bad, some people hated it, some people loved it. It was all over the place. To those who didn’t like it, I totally get it, respect it. To those who loved it, I’m grateful,” he said. “Obviously, a lot of people worked a lot of hours to do something that would make people feel good and that they’d love.”

Abrams added that the feedback does sometimes make him consider if he should have done certain aspects differently.

“Anytime someone doesn’t like it you think, ‘Oh, yeah I could’ve done that better, I should’ve done that,'” the filmmaker admitted. “You try to take it in, but for the most part, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who worked so hard to do it and for the people who saw it and loved it I’m grateful to them too.”

Elsewhere, Abrams was asked on the red carpet at the Oscar Wilde Awards about what projects he had in the pipeline, but he remained tight-lipped.

“There’s a bunch of stuff we’re working on and some things I’m really excited about but it’s obviously too early to talk about. But there are going to be some fun things coming up I look forward to getting out in the world,” he teased.

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Kyle MacLachlan ‘very excited’ for Dune remake

Kyle MacLachlan is “very excited” to see Denis Villeneuve’s remake of sci-fi classic Dune.The original adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science-fiction novel, directed by David Lynch and released in 1984, is set in a distant future and follows the complex…

Kyle MacLachlan is “very excited” to see Denis Villeneuve’s remake of sci-fi classic Dune.

The original adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science-fiction novel, directed by David Lynch and released in 1984, 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 sci-fi epic was a critical and commercial flop, but has since gone on to become a cult classic, and has been remade by Blade Runner 2049 director Villeneuve with a star-studded cast including Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, and Zendaya.

Twins Peaks star MacLachlan, who played protagonist Paul Atreides in the original, has told IMDb he’s eagerly looking forward to watching the remake.

“I’m very excited to see it,” he shared, before adding that there was “plenty of room” for Lynch and Villeneuve’s versions to exist alongside each other. “I’m very much looking forward to the vision Denis has. David Lynch, of course, it’s a very specific vision, so this will be something completely different, I’m sure. Why not have both stand on their own merits?”

In the upcoming remake, Chalamet will be playing Atreides, and MacLachlan has no problem with the Oscar-nominated star being cast in his old role.

“Timothee I think will do a fantastic job,” he stated.

When asked in a separate interview with IndieWire if he will have a cameo in the new Dune, MacLachlan ruled out the possibility by replying with a direct “no”.

Dune is expected to be released in cinemas on 18 December.

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J.J. Abrams responds to criticism of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

J.J. Abrams has insisted the opinions of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s critics are as valid as those who loved it. The third instalment in the sci-fi franchise, which Abrams directed, has proved divisive among fans and is currently the second low…

J.J. Abrams has insisted the opinions of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s critics are as valid as those who loved it.

The third instalment in the sci-fi franchise, which Abrams directed, has proved divisive among fans and is currently the second lowest-rated live-action Star Wars movie on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Following a screening of the film at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood on Friday, the director was asked what he would say to those who have been left disappointed by the trilogy’s conclusion, and he noted it was impossible to please everyone.

“I would say that they’re right. The people who love it more than anything are also right,” he replied. “I was asked just seven hours ago in another country, ‘So how do you go about pleasing everyone?’ I was like’ What…?’ Not to say that should be what anyone tries to do anyway, but how would one go about it? Especially with Star Wars.

“I don’t need to tell anyone here, we live in a moment where everything immediately seems to default to outrage. There is an MO of either: ‘It’s exactly as I see it, or you’re my enemy’ … It’s a crazy thing that there is such a norm that seems to be devoid of nuance and compassion – and this is not about Star Wars, this is about everything – it’s a crazy moment, so we knew starting this any decision we made – a design decision, a musical decision, a narrative decision – would please someone and infuriate someone else. And they’re all right.”

Despite the criticism, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac, has topped the U.S. box office chart after its three-day opening weekend, with takings of $175.5 million (£135 million).

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John Boyega steps out in traditional Nigerian dress for Star Wars premiere

John Boyega wowed the crowds at the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere in London on Wednesday night by wearing traditional Nigerian dress.The actor, who plays Finn in the last instalment of the sci-fi trilogy, wore a royal blue four-piece ensemb…

John Boyega wowed the crowds at the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere in London on Wednesday night by wearing traditional Nigerian dress.

The actor, who plays Finn in the last instalment of the sci-fi trilogy, wore a royal blue four-piece ensemble, called an Agbada, which featured intricate gold detailing.

John, who was born in London to British-Nigerian parents, completed his look by wearing a Fila, a traditional Yoruba cap.

“Had an amazing time at the London premiere for Star Wars! Last leg of the tour! Couldn’t be more grateful for such an amazing opportunity,” he proudly wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of him on the blue carpet.

The 27-year-old was joined at the premiere by members of his family, who were also dressed in matching west African garments.

Fans on social media were quick to heap praise on the star and thanked him for showcasing his heritage on such a grand scale.

“For a Nigerian kid raised on Star Wars, this means everything to me. Representation matters. Thank you,” one wrote, while another added: “The Force is strong with that stunning family!”

Daisy Ridley, who reprises her role as Rey in the upcoming movie, also stunned in a show-stopping navy Vivienne Westwood gown.

The actress hit the blue carpet in the structured strapless velvet corset dress, which also featured a dramatic skirt.

She complemented her look with sapphire and diamond rings by Beladora Jewelry, silver ear crawlers by Tatiana Verstraeten, and wore custom vegan Jimmy Choo satin crystal-embellished pumps.

Daisy’s co-stars, including the likes of Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, and Keri Russell, also braved the freezing British weather.

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Star Wars cast accused of ‘throwing Rian Johnson under the bus’ in new interview

Social media users have blasted J.J. Abrams and his Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker cast for seemingly shading Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi in a new interview.The second film in the trilogy, which was released in 2017, was well-received by critics, bu…

Social media users have blasted J.J. Abrams and his Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker cast for seemingly shading Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi in a new interview.

The second film in the trilogy, which was released in 2017, was well-received by critics, but fans of the much-loved sci-fi saga were not so kind, with a minority even starting a petition to remake Johnson’s film.

In a profile piece for The New York Times, Abrams, who directed The Force Awakens and the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker, and his stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac seemed to suggest they weren’t fans of The Last Jedi either.

Abrams praised the film for being “full of surprises and subversion and all sorts of bold choices,” but then added, “It’s a bit of a meta approach to the story. I don’t think that people go to Star Wars to be told, ‘This doesn’t matter.'”

Isaac, who plays pilot Poe Dameron, said, “The characters were very frustrated, and it felt that way (filming it)… You felt the difficult energy of those scenes, figuring that stuff out,” while Ridley, who portrays Rey, said she cried with relief when Abrams agreed to direct the finale, and Boyega, who plays Finn, said he was glad too, because, “Even as a normal person in the audience, I wanted to see where that story was going.”

Reacting to the comments on Twitter, journalist Alison Herman tweeted, “Rian Johnson would be well within his rights to swear off Star Wars forever after the s**t he took. Instead, he’s been nothing but gracious while his collaborators throw him under the bus,” and author Dana Schwartz posted, “This is f**king bulls**t. Throwing Rian Johnson under the bus to please some crazy fanboys when he made the most interesting and ambitious Star Wars movie since Empire (Strikes Back).”

Another added, “Pivoting toward hating the cast of Star Wars for shading the guy who gave them their best work.”

Boyega was open about his issues with The Last Jedi in an interview with Hypebeast magazine earlier this week, saying it felt “a bit iffy” and he didn’t agree with a lot of the choices made in the film.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker script almost sold on eBay 

A script for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was leaked on eBay after a cleaner found one of the actors’ copies. Disney and Lucasfilm executives go to great lengths to ensure copies of Star Wars scripts don’t fall into the wrong hands, but even with a…

A script for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was leaked on eBay after a cleaner found one of the actors’ copies.

Disney and Lucasfilm executives go to great lengths to ensure copies of Star Wars scripts don’t fall into the wrong hands, but even with all their strict security measures in place, a script for the upcoming instalment in the current trilogy ended up for sale on the e-commerce site after one of the actors left it in their room and it was intercepted by a cleaner.

“The security is insane, the company were really nervous about anything getting out. So, they had only a handful of scripts and they were printed on crazy uncopyable paper,” director J.J. Abrams said during an appearance on Good Morning America. “And then one of our actors – I’m not going to say which one, I want to but I won’t – left it under their bed and it was found by someone who was cleaning their place.

“It was given to someone else who then went to sell it on eBay and someone at the company said, ‘There’s a script, that looks like it’s a legit script that’s for sale on eBay.’ And they got it back before it sold.”

While he didn’t name the actor, it’s likely it was one of the film’s main stars – such as Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Oscar Isaac – as supporting actors weren’t given a full script.

The Americans star Keri Russell, who joins the franchise as the mysterious Zorii Bliss, recently revealed to Entertainment Weekly that she was only allowed to keep scripts for her scenes and was once escorted to a small room where she could read the screenplay in full while being watched by a security guard.

The Rise of Skywalker hits cinemas from 18 December.

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