“Creative differences” have led many of the best directors working today to part ways with studio projects. It’s the reason filmmakers like Ava DuVernay and Edgar Wright bowed out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Danny Boyle made headlines in 2018 for exiting Bond 25 after failing to agree with producers on the story. Studio filmmaking is rarely a space that gives auteurs full creative freedom, and even when it is it comes with financial risk. Look no further than Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049,” which was more art-house meditation on existence than traditional action blockbuster. “Blade Runner 2049” might’ve dazzled critics and won two craft Oscars, but infamously flopped at the box office. Fortunately, the flop appears not to be scaring off Warner Bros. from letting Villeneuve do his thing on “Dune.”
In a recent interview with Collider, “Dune” cast member Stellan Skarsgard promised fans that full creative control of “Dune” was in Villeneuve’s hands. The actor, who is playing the movie’s villainous Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, says Warner Bros. has not been getting in the way of Villeneuve’s vision, which should come as a relief to anyone worried a studio might be watching Villeneuve more closely after the “2049” flop.
“I’ve always wanted to work with him partly because he’s such a wonderful man, but also because he’s a brilliant director,” Skarsgard told Collider. “It’s fun when you get one of those big sci-fi movies and you know it’s going to be directed by a true filmmaker. It’s not going to be directed by the studio. It seemed like they were giving him pretty free hands. And you have to, because his personal stamp on the film is paramount for the success of it.”
Skarsgard praised Villeneuve for “creating this strange atmosphere with his imagery and this cinematic poetry that is his trademark and that will add so much richness to the pretty simple story.”
Villeneuve appeared somewhat defeated after the “2049” release, telling The Telegraph, “Let’s just say it would not be a good idea for me to make a movie like that twice. When you’re working on a film you’re in a bubble, and it was only when I came out that I realized we had made a monster. I won’t do it again.”
Moviegoers wondered if Villeneuve’s comment meant he wouldn’t make another big-budget tentpole with an artistic vision, but it sounds like from Skarsgard that’s exactly what “Dune” is going to be next year. Villeneuve’s “Dune” stars Timothée Chalamet in the lead role and features a supporting cast that includes Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Charlotte Rampling, and David Dastmalchian. Warner Bros. is opening the film nationwide December 18, 2020.