The upcoming Dune is one of 2020's most eagerly anticipated movies. Adapted from Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049), it details a richly complex and engrossing galactic conflict. Timothee Chalamet plays Paul, heir to the House of Atreides whose family has taken up stewardship of the sand-blasted desert planet of Arrakis. Betrayed by the outgoing Harkonnens, Paul and his mother, seer Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), flee into the desert and begin an insurgent uprising.
In addition to Chalamet and Ferguson, the outstanding cast includes Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling and Jason Momoa. Villeneuve has assembled an impressive team of creatives to do justice to the story, including Oscar-winning Forrest Gump screenwriter Eric Roth, Inception composer Hans Zimmer and Rogue One cinematographer Greig Fraser.
This isn't the first time Dune has been adapted for the big screen. In 1984, director David Lynch delivered his attempt, but it was seen as a failure. (It has, however, developed something of a cult following.) At least one member of the Dune 2020 crew, supervising art director Tom Brown, is promising something special, inviting comparisons with a recent benchmark of sweeping fantasy cinema.
“I think what Denis Villeneuve is doing is what’s called a seminal version of this story," Brown explains. "I don’t think it will be topped, to be perfectly honest. The sheer scale of it is going to be daunting. But I do think it’s going to be extremely special. I heard in the paper the other day that they’re looking at the new Lord of the Rings, and I firmly believe that. I think it’s going to be up there with those kinds of films, really.”
Herbert's original novel, the first in the acclaimed Dune series, was groundbreaking for putting a fantastical narrative in the service of plausible ecology and science. Brown says that this philosophy underpins Villeneuve's take on the material.
“The great thing about this is that it’s so realistic. It’s not like anything they’ve seen before,” Brown said of the film’s spacecraft. “The attitude that Denis and [production designer] Patrice [Vermette took] was, what would happen if these things could actually fly? Unlike a lot of spaceships that just sort of lift off and fly, these have an incredible realism to them. Even though some of the spaceships are the size of skyscrapers, others are two-seater vehicles.”
Such is the scale of Dune that the movie will be split in two. The first instalment is due to arrive on 18th December 2020, with the second half yet to be confirmed. A trailer is said to be incoming, so let us know @Cineworld if this is on your must-see list.