Dune reboot to 'go back' to original book, says director Denis Villeneuve

The director of ‘Arrival’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049’ has been discussing his approach to ‘Dune’ (PA/Universal Pictures)
The director of ‘Arrival’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049’ has been discussing his approach to ‘Dune’ (PA/Universal Pictures)

The press circuit for the highly-anticipated ‘Blade Runner 2049’ kicked off yesterday in Moscow, Russia, and it didn’t take long for attention to turn to director Denis Villeneuve’s next project: his upcoming re-imagining of ‘Dune’ for the big screen.

Speaking at the film’s press conference (via WDSSPR/Sony Pictures Russia), the ‘Arrival’ director confirmed that he is about to start working on his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel, stating that his ‘Dune’ “is not a reboot or a remake at all…but we are just going back to the novel”.

Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ will follow the 1984 adaptation directed by David Lynch, the production controversies surrounding which are very well documented. Although the Canadian director described himself as “a big fan of [Lynch]”, he said that “he wasn’t happy” with the ‘Mulholland Drive’ filmmaker’s take on the sci-fi saga.

Kyle MacLachlan and Sting starred in David Lynch’s ill-fated 1984 adaptation of ‘Dune’ (Universal Pictures)
Kyle MacLachlan and Sting starred in David Lynch’s ill-fated 1984 adaptation of ‘Dune’ (Universal Pictures)

He added: “[It] wasn’t the movie I was dreaming of. So I would like to bring to the screen what I felt, the images I saw, when I read the book”. The ‘Dune’ comments also appear to suggest that the ‘Sicario’ and ‘Prisoners’ director is unlikely to helm the currently-untitled 25th James Bond film, which is set to be released in November of 2019, and said to be actor Daniel Craig’s swan song as the character.

The Hollywood Reporter and other outlets previously reported that Villeneuve was one of the front-runners for the ‘Bond 25′ directing gig, alongside ”71’ filmmaker Yann Demange.

Denis also joked to the press about discussing upcoming projects before he’s even started work on them, adding that “Nobody had heard about ‘Arrival’ or ‘Sicario’ before they were done…I’m not used to talking about movies when I’m ‘pregnant’, it’s too early”.

Coming back to the ‘Blade Runner’ sequel, Villeneuve talked about how Eastern Europe and Russia played influenced the visual architecture of Los Angeles in 2049 – which is natural given the productionʼs decision to shoot on location and at stages in Budapest, Hungary.

He added: “When I read the Philip K. Dick novel [‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’], the presence of Russian culture…I really loved it, and I felt it would be beautiful if, as much as [Ridley Scott’s] first movie was really influenced by Japan and China, that this one was more influenced by Eastern Europe aesthetically and from a cultural point of view”.

While any more specific details regarding the film weren’t discussed – the Russian press only saw a selection of footage that they are embargoed from talking about – Denis did touch upon the ‘blackout’ event previously mentioned at the film’s San Diego Comic-Con presentation and the Road to 2049 viral site.

Taking place shortly after the first film’s events in 2019, the director said that what he likes about this turning point in the ‘Blade Runner’ universe is that “it’s a mysterious event, that is not necessarily explained in the movies…in 2049, the world does not rely on the internet and the digital world, we came back to an analog world, which is a very good thing for a detective story. My character cannot find clues or things going on Google, it doesn’t exist anymore in 2049”.

Expect to hear more from Villeneuve on ‘Blade Runner 2049’ in the weeks ahead. The film hits UK screens on October 5th, with tickets on sale at venues including London’s BFI IMAX from tomorrow, September 15.

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