Denis Villeneuve has taken on the difficult task of adapting Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel “Dune,” a chore that was attempted by David Lynch and also Alejandro Jodorowsky. In a recent interview on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, Villeneuve admitted “I don’t know if I succeeded” with regards to bringing the galactic epic to the screen, and also said he probably wouldn’t want to talk to Lynch about his attempts to mount the book.
“If I was meeting with Lynch, I’d be more interested to talk about painting than ‘Dune.’ I’m not expecting to have that chance to share the experience,” Villeneuve said of ever speaking to Lynch, who is also a renowned visual artist, about the movie. “I don’t know if I succeeded, OK. I have a very close relationship with the movie I made… I’m kind of proud of the movie, but it’s up to other people to judge. For me it’s about the result — it’s about the process.”
Whether or not he succeeded on “Dune” is paramount, as a possible sequel is in the wings to be greenlit. (The film only encapsulates the first half of the novel.) Still, the film has already racked up more than $100 million overseas.
Villeneuve added, “When I saw David Lynch version [from 1984], when I was young, I did feel that he succeeded in some areas, and other moments of the adaptation I felt he went away from the source material a bit too much. There was things, some decisions he made that I did not agree with… I was waiting for this adaptation for a long time.”
David Lynch has long said that “Dune” is a “huge sadness in my life” because he did not have final cut. Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, meanwhile, tried to adapt the movie in the 1970s but failed, and his attempt was explored in the 2013 documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune.” Last year, Lynch said he had no interest in seeing Villeneuve’s version, while Jodorowsky told IndieWire he would watch the film “with pleasure because it will be different” but remained skeptical about what Villeneuve could achieve given the heady, philosophical aspects of the book.
“These gentlemen are two completely different filmmakers. They are two masters, two of the greatest filmmakers of all time. They have massive cinematic personality and they are both well-known to be able to create iconic images, very original unseen images” Villeneuve said.
“It wouldn’t be fair to say it was a total nightmare, but it was maybe 75 percent a nightmare,” Lynch said last year about making “Dune.” “I had such a great time in Mexico City, the greatest crew. It was beautiful. But when you don’t have final cut, why did I do it? I don’t know. When you don’t have final cut, total creative freedom, you stand to die the death. Die the death. And dying I did.”
“Dune arrives” in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22.