'Dune' cinematographer says first movie is 'a fully standalone epic'

Tom Beasley
Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides in 'Dune'. (Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures)

The first part of Denis Villeneuve’s take on sci-fi novel Dune will be a “standalone epic”, according to cinematographer Greig Fraser.

Villeneuve’s blockbuster adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel has been split into two movies, with the first due to arrive in cinemas later this year.

Read more: Villeneuve says Dune is the “most difficult thing” he has made

Fraser told Collider that this film is a “fully formed story in itself”, rather than just a set-up for the subsequent second instalment.

“It’s a fully standalone epic film that people will get a lot out of when they see it,” he said.

“It was quite an adventure visually. It was a beautiful experience making it. The people involved with it, I was overwhelmed.

Director Denis Villeneuve and actor Javier Bardem on the set of 'Dune'. (Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures)

“Some of the actors, as well as being insanely talented actors, are just lovely, lovely people who I’ve become very close to since then.”

Read more: Villeneuve wants to oversee another Blade Runner movie

Fraser has recently worked on a number of major franchises, serving as director of photography for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and several episodes of The Mandalorian, as well as The Batman.

He said working on both Dune and Star Wars was an interesting challenge given how much Frank Herbert’s work inspired George Lucas.

He said: “I had to be careful doing both [Dune and The Mandalorian] not to repeat myself.

“Also not just for the sake of the movie, but for fun. I hate to do the same thing twice.”

Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides in 'Dune'. (Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures)

Dune stars Timothée Chalamet as young protagonist Paul Atreides, with the cast packed out by big names, including Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa.

The story focuses on the stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis, which is the only source of the most valuable substance in the universe — spice.

Read more: Jason Momoa compares Dune character to Han Solo

According to Isaac, the movie is a “shocking, scary and very visceral” take on the story, which was previously filmed by David Lynch for a 1984 film even the director regrets making.

Dune is set to arrive in cinemas on 18 December.