Fear Not, ‘Dune’ Fans: Denis Villeneuve’s 2020 Epic Will ‘Honor Everything’ About the Novel

Zack Sharf

Denis Villeneuve promised “Dune” fans in November 2017 that his upcoming film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s landmark science-fiction novel would not be anything like David Lynch’s 1984 movie, and the director really means it according to his frequent collaborator David Dastmalchian. “Dune” reunites the actor for a third time with Villeneuve after “Prisoners” and “Blade Runner 2049” and stars Dastmalchian as Piter de Vries, the sadistic follower of the villainous Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård). Dastmalchian recently told CinemaBlend that “Dune” fans should expect an incredibly faithful adaptation of the novel.

“I can’t really discuss much about the script or the plot itself, but I can just tell you that that old phrase ‘true to the spirit’ or ‘honoring the spirit of’ [applies],” Dastmalchian said. “Quite honestly I haven’t even seen the most recent [version] of the script, but in the way Denis has talked about the film and what I’ve seen, it’s absolutely true to and in honor of everything that Frank put into the novel…[Denis is] just so fearless, man. He makes choices and then he goes into the places that we need right now as audiences.”

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Villeneuve’s insistence on using the source material as his guiding light and not Lynch’s movie is one reason Dastmalchian decided a re-watch of the film was not needed after being cast. The actor promised that the “level of maturity and complexity in Herbert’s writing” would be reflected in Villeneuve’s adaptation. The director shares a screenwriting credit on the movie along with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts.

“I’m so grateful and excited to be a part of Denis’ vision,” Dastmalchian added. “I think that he is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time and any time, and I believe what he’s going to do here, it’s just going to take people to a whole other place. When you think about ‘Arrival’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ those are the two science fiction films that he’s crafted, you see his gift for telling stories that are visually stunning, but that are also rooted in really complex ideas and really fascinating characters.”

Production on “Dune,” co-starring Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, and Oscar Isaac, is currently underway. Legendary Entertainment will open the film nationwide November 20, 2020.

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