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Denis Villeneuve Preps First Love ‘Dune’ as ‘Bond 25’ Beckons

The director of "Blade Runner 2049" embraces female empowerment in "Dune" and remains fascinated with Daniel Craig's Bond.

Denis Villeneuve on the set of “Blade Runner 2049”

Blade Runner 2049” director Denis Villeneuve confirms that he has been approached to helm “Bond 25.” But the French Canadian’s first priority is making his passion project “Dune.” The Legendary Pictures adaptation of the Frank Herbert sci-fi classic is currently being scripted by Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump”).

Yet Villeneuve remains linked to “Bond 25,” whose shortlist of directors also includes Yann Demange (“71”) and David Mackenzie (“Hell or High Water”). “I cannot comment on [making it], but I would say about Bond that it’s a character I grew up with,” he said.

His first childhood memory of 007 was watching Roger Moore’s “The Man with the Golden Gun.” “What I remember but didn’t understand was there was this discussion about [Sean] Connery not being Bond anymore,” said Villeneuve.

He singled out “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “The Spy Who Loved Me,” and “Casino Royale” as Bond faves. “If ever I had the privilege to do a Bond movie, I would need to think a lot about it before to do or not because it’s a franchise that’s very crystallized,” said Villeneuve.

Casino Royale

“Casino Royale”

Columbia Pictures

“That’s why I think ‘Casino Royale’ was so refreshing and so powerful the way they re-approached the character.”

Of course, Villeneuve is complimentary of Craig, who has placed the director at the top of his wishlist: “He has done the impossible. He rebooted the franchise and Bond became the main gadget. He’s a very strong actor. I would love to work with him.”

Preoccupied with “Dune,” however, Villeneuve might not get the chance, as Craig’s fifth and, presumably, final appearance as “Bond 25” opens November 8, 2019. “One thing at a time,” said Villeneuve.

Turning to “Dune,” which the director has dreamed of making since childhood, the rich themes of religion, politics, and an underground society are finally coalescing in his personal vision of Herbert’s universe.

Blade Runner 2049

“Blade Runner 2049”

Villeneuve also singled out the importance of female empowerment. This was a strong component of “Blade Runner 2049,” given the standout performances from Ana de Armas as AI app Joi, Sylvia Hoeks as femme fatale replicant Luv, Mackenzie Davis as replicant ally Mariette, Robin Wright as veteran cop, Lt. Joshi, and Carla Juri as Ana, the master designer of replicant memories. “It’s a lyrical journey that starts with an eye opening,” said Villeneuve, who revealed that the eye belongs to Ana. “She awakens like a princess living in a glass castle.”

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