Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” does not debut in theaters and on HBO Max until October 22, but star Jason Momoa is already beating the drum for Warner Bros. to release the “four-to-six hour version” of the science-fiction tentpole. “Dune” is the first part in an intended two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s iconic 1965 novel. Momoa told The New York Times that he doesn’t want any footage they shot for the first movie trimmed.
“It was a cool movie. You know what they need to do? They need to make the four-to-six hour version of the first half,” Momoa said. “It’s like, ‘Let’s watch the four-to-five-hour movie like a TV show; I can choose when I want to watch the whole thing.’ I want to see Denis’s whole vision. I don’t want it to be trimmed.”
Just how much footage was cut from the “Dune” assembly cut to the theatrical cut remains to be seen. Villeneuve’s longtime editor Joe Walker revealed that the original cut of the director’s “Blade Runner 2049” was four hours, which inspired an original plan to split “2049” into two parts. Villeneuve and Walker were going to split “2049” at the point where K (Ryan Gosling) and hologram Joi (Ana de Armas) make love using Mariette (Mackenzie Davis) as a body double.
“That break revealed something about the story – it’s in two halves,” Walker said. “There’s K discovering his true past as he sees it and at the halfway mark he kind of loses his virginity (laughs). The next morning, it’s a different story, about meeting your maker and ultimately sacrifice – ‘dying is the most human thing we do.’ Oddly enough both halves start with eyes opening.”
Villeneuve and Walker knew the studio would not release a two-part, four-hour “Blade Runner 2049,” so the plan was quickly scrapped and the film was edited into what became the theatrical cut. Villeneuve only agreed to direct “Dune” for Legendary and Warner Bros. if they agreed to let him split Hebert’s novel into two films. Even split, however, the first “Dune” movie is robust and needs trimming, despite Momoa not wanting anything cut.
Warner Bros. is taking “Dune” to the Venice Film Festival next month, where the tentpole will have its world premiere in an out-of-competition slot. The film then opens October 22 in theaters and on HBO Max.