Frank Herbert’s Son Says ‘Dune’ Author Would be ‘Incredibly Proud’ of Denis Villeneuve

Warner Bros. rolled out a handful of first look photos for "Dune" this week, introducing Villeneuve's vision for his Frank Herbert adaptation.
Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve

It’s been a major week for “Dune” fans thanks to Vanity Fair’s various first looks at Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s legendary science-fiction novel. The Warner Bros. tentpole marks the return of “Dune” to the big screen after David Lynch’s infamous box office bomb in 1984. Brian Herbert, son of the late “Dune” author, reacted enthusiastically to the first looks at Villeneuve’s project by writing on social media, “‘Dune’ fans, I hope you’re all as excited as I am to see these early glimpses of the new ‘Dune’ movie. My father would be incredibly proud!”

Brian Herbert’s excitement for Villeneuve’s “Dune” was matched by “Star Wars” actor John Boyega, who posted the first look of Oscar Isaac in the film on his social media platforms with an expletive-filled caption. Boyega and Isaac starred opposite one another in three “Star Wars” movies. Isaac takes on the patriarchal role of Leto Atreides in Villeneuve’s “Dune,” which follows Herbert’s text in centering around the Atreides family as they battle enemies after gaining ownership of the valuable desert planet Arrakis. Villeneuve’s cast also includes Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Mamoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, and Stellan Skarsgard.

One reason Lynch’s 1984 “Dune” film adaptation failed is because it’s almost impossible to turn Herbert’s sprawling text into a single feature film. Villeneuve would only sign on to direct Warner Bros. new adaptation if they agreed to a two-part movie, similar to how the studio released the horror movie “It” in two chapters. Villeneuve told Vanity Fair the world of “Dune” is too complex for a single film.

“Dune” marks Villeneuve’s first film since earning rave reviews (but disappointing box office numbers) for “Blade Runner 2049.” The director has become one of the science-fiction genre’s most beloved filmmakers thanks to the “Blade Runner” sequel and “Arrival.” Unlike “2049,” Villeneuve’s take on “Dune” is expected to be more grounded in realism courtesy of virtuoso handheld cinematographer Greig Fraser (think of his work on “Rogue One” as an example).

Warner Bros. is releasing “Dune” nationwide December 18.

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