Adapting Paul Herbert's classic novel Dune for the big screen has been seen as something of a poisoned chalice ever since David Lynch tried it in 1984.
Famously one of the more fraught shoots in movie history, the Twin Peaks auteur managed to make such a hash of the job he now refuses to discuss it.
None of which has managed to put off Denis Villeneuve. The Sicario director is about to begin work on his own reboot of the cherished - if somewhat dense - sci-fi source material, and is feeling bullish enough to claim it could even take two or more filmsto tell the story. (To assuage fan fears, he has also made it clear his Dune will in no way resemble Lynch's.)
Early causes for optimism, then? Why not. Here's everything we know about the Dune reboot so far.
What is it about?
Images from the set of David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of ’Dune’
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Widely considered one of, if not the, greatest science-fiction book of all time, Paul Herbert's 1965 novel won the prestigious Hugo Award and went on to sell millions of copies, growing in popularity throughout the seventies. Set in the far future on a sparsely populated desert wasteland, Dune follows the story of a once-noble family who try to take control of planet called Arrakis and its export, a precious but dangerous drug called spice.
Dune was the first work of science-fiction to showcase big scale world-building, creating a universe with an entirely new political, economic and societal structure. And if that reminds anyone of a certain Song of Ice and Fire - it should. Game of Thrones author George R.R Martin regularly cites Dune as an influence, and even borrowed techniques from it like writing his character's inner monologues in italicised sentences. Two other reasonably popular feats of imagination - Lord of the Rings and Star Wars - also owe a huge debt to Dune.
Who is in it?
Actors Timothée Chalamet and Oscar Isaac, will play father and son in ’Dune’
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Already announced is Call Me By Your Name and Beautiful Boy star Timothée Chalamet who will play protagonist Paul Atreides. In the final stages of talks to play his father Duke Leto Atreides is Oscar Isaac who has already appeared in a string of sci-fi films including Ex Machina, Annihilation and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Other high-profile cast members include Charlotte Rampling, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård and Zendaya.
Aquaman himself Jason Momoa has also been tapped to play Duncan Idaho, a sword-master serving the house of Atreides and the right-hand man to Duke Leto Atreides.
Who is the director?
Villeneuve at the Annual Critics’ Choice Awards in 2016
French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is one of the most exciting and ambitious directors working today, with a slate of films including Scicario, Prisoners and Arrival - for which he was nominated for an Oscar - under his belt.
On the other hand, he was also at the helm for another reboot of a sci-fi adaptation, 2017's Blade Runner: 2049. Despite a huge budget, incredible visuals and the presence of Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, the film was largely shut out of the Oscar race and proved a box office disappointment. Villeneuve later admitted remaking the classic had been "flirting with disaster", although that's less of a concern here as no one has even made a good film of Dune.
One somewhat cryptic clue as to the direction Villeneuve may take Dune in came on the red carpet at the Golden Globes this year when - wearing his now-famous bedazzled harness - Chalamet said that he would describe his boss's take on the material as "grounded".
As for the man himself, Villeneuve has said: “It’s a meditative process where you get in contact with the project. I sound esoteric but it’s how I see things. It’s close to the dream state. After all, cinema is close to the dream state — a bridge between reality and dreams.”
So not entirely helpful - or particularly coherent - then, but it's worth noting Villeneuve shut himself out of the race to direct Bond 25 in order to focus on Dune. In other words, it better be good, Denis.
When is it out?
There's no definite release date yet but Chalamet confirmed filming is due to start this March so that, combined with the fact Villeneuve has said the film will "probably take two years to make", puts us at 2021 at the earliest. Plenty of time to get excited, then. Or - who knows - maybe even read the book.
From: Esquire UK