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Director Denis Villeneuve Says ‘Dune’ Will Be At Least Two Films.

 

 

When “Blade Runner 2049” filmmaker Denis Villeneuve stepped on stage in Montreal’s Place des Arts’ Théâtre Maisonneuve for the Rendez-Vous du Cinema Quebecois this week, he expected a small crowd for an “intimate cinema lesson.” What he ended up stepping into was a packed house that holds more than 1,400 seats. Needless to say, Villeneuve is a bit of a hero in Quebec.

 

Maybe it was his nerves, or perhaps he was just feeling honest and forthcoming, but in front of that huge crowd, Villeneuve dropped a quick update on his forthcoming “Dune” adaptation. “Dune will probably take two years to make,” the director said. “The goal is to make two films, maybe more.” Do we have potential series or franchise on our hands? This ambitious film just got a little more complex.

For those that have read Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel, this news might a relief.  Seeing as the book is fairly lengthy and incredibly dense, the idea of trying to capture the story in one film seems impossible (see David Lynch‘s version which never quite worked). Splitting up the movie into at least two parts would be the perfect way to adapt “Dune.” There’s a time jump in the middle of the book which makes the split quite easy to pull off. This would allow for Villeneuve to cut fewer scenes and give us the full two-part film, or more, he envisions.

 

Villeneuve’s comments also might bring to mind the director’s last film, “Blade Runner 2049.” Back in December, Villeneuve had revealed he had toyed, at least in the editing room, with the idea of releasing the sci-fi film in two separate parts (his assembly cut was 4 hours). The editor of the film described that cut as “quite strong,” but of course, even the nearly 3-hour running time of the theatrical releases was a type of kiss of death.

Dense and sprawling, “Dune” frankly needs more than one film to be properly told. It, of course, may all come down to its box office success or failure, but it’s fascinating to hear that Villeneuve has his eyes on something more expansive and enterprising than we all initially imagined.

 

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