Steven Spielberg Tells Denis Villeneuve That ‘Dune 2’ Is ‘One of the Most Brilliant Science-Fiction Films I’ve Ever Seen’

Steven Spielberg had nothing but praise for “Dune: Part Two” while interviewing Denis Villeneuve on the latest episode of the DGA’s “Director’s Cut” podcast. The Oscar winner told Villeneuve that “you have made one of the most brilliant science-fiction films I’ve ever seen,” which is high praise coming from the mastermind behind “E.T: Extra Terrestrial” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” And that wasn’t the only praise Spielberg bestowed upon the “Dune” director.

“It’s an honor for me to sit here and talk to you,” Spielberg said. “Let me start by saying there are filmmakers who are the builders of worlds. It’s not a long list and we know who a lot of them are. Starting with [Georges] Méliès and Disney and Kubrick, George Lucas. Ray Harryhausen I include in that list. Fellini built his own worlds. Tim Burton. Obviously Wes Anderson, Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, Guillermo del Toro. The list goes on but it’s not that long of a list, and I deeply, fervently believe that you are one of its newest members.”

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Villeneuve sounded gobsmacked over receiving such a compliment from one of the greatest directors of all time. Spielberg called out the scene in “Dune: Part Two” where Paul rides a sandworm for the first time as a notable triumph .

“This is a desert-loving story, but for such a desert-loving film there is such a yearning for water in this movie,” Spielberg said. “For all the sand you have in this film, it’s really about water. The sacred waters that are yearning for green meadows and the blue water of life. You film the desert to resemble an ocean, a sea. The sandworms were like sea serpents. And that scene surfing the sandworms is one of the greatest things I have ever seen. Ever! But you made the desert look like a liquid.”

Variety previously reported that it took Villeneuve 44 days to shoot the sandworm riding scene. The crew built the worm into a 90-foot-long by 24-foot-wide set piece. The film’s cinematographer, Greig Fraser, remembered reading the script and thinking: “How the heck are we going to do that?”

“In the book, Paul rides a sandworm, and if we weren’t careful, it could be an odd concept,” Fraser said. “So we made sure we were so careful [that] the audience never had a concept suspending their disbelief.”

“Dune: Part Two” has proved to be a hit with critics and audiences. The film is nearing $240 million at the domestic box office and has surpassed $570 million worldwide. The movie continues to play in theaters nationwide from Warner Bros.

Listen to Spielberg and Villeneuve’s full conversation on the DGA’s “Director’s Cut” podcast here.

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