Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ Debuts First In-Depth Look


After yesterday’s first look at Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, we now have more photos and information to marvel at until a trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s new movie arrives.


The batch of new pictures comes via Vanity Fair. Reporter Anthony Breznican also had the chance to sit down with the cast and crew to get some delicious tidbits about the movie, which is still set to open on December 18 despite the movie calendar being thrown into disarray by the coronavirus pandemic.



Frank Herbert’s novel, which was released in 1965, has become a cornerstone of sci-fi literature that has proved troublesome to adapt; Alejandro Jodorowsky (El TopoThe Holy Mountain) went for an ambitious approach in the ’70s that studios ultimately deemed as too risky, and David Lynch (EraserheadTwin Peaks) later managed to bring it to the big screen in 1984 only to be met with poor reviews. Dune was also turned into a three-part miniseries for TV in 2000 which is barely remembered nowadays.


Paul (Timothée Chalamet) comes from a powerful galactic family — the House Atreides. His father and mother, Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), take him from their home world, Caladan, to preside over spice extraction on Arrakis. There they clash with House Harkonnen, led by the monstrous Baron Vladimir (Stellan Skarsgård). The breadth of Dune also includes augmented humans called “mentats” and bravado warriors such as Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa) and Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin). The list goes on and on… This is no swift space adventure.


Director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Blade Runner 2049) defends his decision to adapt the first novel in the series as a two-parter, since “the world is too complex”. This is probably for the best, as Dune has always been regarded as a dense and challenging work of fiction. Despite its epic scope and sprawling worldbuilding, Herbert’s novel is no entry-level read (both in style and content), which is one of the reasons why Hollywood has had trouble bringing it to the big screen. We have yet to see if Dune proves to be a box office hit or a sandworm-sized flop.



Legendary Pictures acquired the movie and TV rights for Dune back in 2016. At the time of writing this article, a companion TV show (called The Sisterhood) is also in pre-production, with Villeneuve set to direct the pilot episode and Jon Spaihts (who also worked in the movie) in writing duties.


If anything, this new adaptation of the famous novel will be remembered by its star-studded cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Oscar Isaac, and Stellan Skarsgård (among others) spearhead a massive ensemble of characters. The budget is unknown at this point, but it is probably on the “big gamble” side, which means a Game of Thrones approach to the marketing (there is plenty of political intrigue in there) might be smart.