Villeneuve says that the film will only tell half of the novel, with Warner Bros. Pictures agreeing to tell the story in two films. “I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie,” he said. “The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details.”
The filmmaker also compared the story to what is happening in the world today. “No matter what you believe, Earth is changing, and we will have to adapt. 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.”
A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, the Dune movie tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people.
As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence — a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential — only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
Villeneuve added that he expanded the role of Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica, played by Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible films). Lady Jessica is a member of the Ben Gesserit, “a sect of women who can read minds, control people with their voice, and manipulate the balance of power in the universe.”
“She’s a mother, she’s a concubine, she’s a soldier,” said Ferguson. “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 film also stars Oscar Isaac (Star Wars films), Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (Milk, Deadpool 2, Avengers: Infinity War), Stellan Skarsgård (the Mamma Mia! films, Avengers: Age of Ultron), Dave Bautista (the Guardians of the Galaxy films, Avengers: Endgame), and Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming).
Also starring are David Dastmalchian (the Ant-Man movies), Stephen Henderson (Fences, Lady Bird), Chang Chen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Grandmaster), with Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (45 Years, Assassin’s Creed), with Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Skyfall).
Villeneuve directed Dune from a screenplay he co-wrote with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts based on Herbert’s novel. The film is produced by Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Joe Caracciolo and Villeneuve. The executive producers are Tanya Lapointe, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, Kim Herbert, Thomas Tull, Jon Spaihts, Richard P. Rubinstein, John Harrison and Herbert W. Gains, with Kevin J. Anderson serving as creative consultant.
Behind the scenes, Villeneuve reteamed with two-time Oscar-nominated production designer Patrice Vermette (Arrival, Sicario, The Young Victoria), two-time Oscar-nominated editor Joe Walker (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, 12 Years a Slave), two-time Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert (First Man, Blade Runner 2049), and Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Gerd Nefzer (Blade Runner 2049).
He also collaborated for the first time with Oscar-nominated director of photography Greig Fraser (Lion, Zero Dark Thirty, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story); three-time Oscar-nominated costume designer Jacqueline West (The Revenant, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Quills) and co-costume designer Bob Morgan; and stunt coordinator Tom Struthers (The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception). Oscar-winning and multiple Oscar-nominated composer Hans Zimmer (Blade Runner 2049, Inception, Gladiator, The Lion King) is creating the score.
The Dune movie was filmed on location in Budapest, Hungary, and in Jordan. You can view more photos in the gallery below.