As incredible as Arrakis, the arid planet where sand worms proliferate, the cast for the remake of Dune is growing day by day. Denis Villeneuve’s childhood dream is finally coming true with his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s best-seller, the science-fiction masterpiece published in 1965. After having brought together Timothée Chalamet, Charlotte Rampling, Rebecca Ferguson, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista and recently Oscar Isaac, the director of Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival has now convinced Javier Bardem to join his ranks. The actor, who won an Oscar in 2008 for his remarkable interpretation of psychopath Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, will be playing Stilgar, a dignitary of the Fremen people previously embodied by Everett McGill in David Lynch’s version released in 1984.
The curse of science-fiction
Since the publication of the novel in 1965, several directors have tried to adapt it for cinema. Chilean Alejandro Jororowsky was the first to have a go in 1975. With French producer Michel Seydoux, he brought together big names in the art world for the film: Moebius, Mick Jagger, Dali, Orson Welles, Pink Floyd... but Hollywood finally turned the project down
Ridley Scott also had a go at writing a script but gave it up to make Blade Runner instead. David Lynch found himself with the hot potato as Dune failed to achieve the same success as Elephant Man (1981). Especially as the producers pushed Lynch to cut numerous scenes to go back to a more classic format, his initial version having run for three hours. The director even went as far as disowning the movie and released it under a pseudonym. Since then, apart from a couple of television adaptations, no other director has attempted to embark on the adventure.
A diptych with scope
Until now. Perfectly capable of taking on blockbusters as much as indie films, Denis Villeneuve is envisaging this adaptation in two chapters, in order to remain as loyal as possible to Frank Herbert’s novel. The Legendary studio (Jurassic World, Interstellar, Mamma Mia !) first acquired the rights in 2016, imagining the project as a saga. Set to start in spring, filming will take place in Jordan and Budapest.