There were rumours back in November that the French-Canadian director could be tackling the massive project for Legendary Entertainment, and now it appears to be official.
Brian Herbert, son of Dune author Frank Herbert, confirmed that Denis Villeneuve will be directing a Dune remake in a tweet, saying: “It's official -- Legendary Pictures has signed the very talented Denis Villeneuve to direct the exciting new DUNE series film project.”
The tweet implies that there are plans for a franchise rather than a standalone film, which would be an exceptionally ambitious undertaking - though it certainly makes more sense than trying to do a standalone, with the scope and complexity of the material.
However, it’s not just the fact that Dune is a complex narrative that might prove challenging for Villeneuve. An attempt to make a Dune film in the 1970’s saw it languish in development for most of the decade. Alexander Jodorosky attempted the feat of producing it with names such as Orson Welles and Salvador Dali attached, and though his efforts spawned a documentary, the film itself was never finished. The first adaptation that actually ended up finished was directed by David Lynch in 1984, starring Kyle MacLachlan, Max Von Sydow, and Sting, but Lynch quickly disowned it.
Many unsuccessful attempts to produce a remake have come since, including an attempt by Taken director Pierre Morel, before the rights reverted back to the Herbert estate and Legendary obtained them late last year.
Whether Villeneuve will fall to Dune’s ‘cursed’ reputation is still up in the air, but given that he managed to pull Blade Runner 2049 out of development and into cinemas this year, he might be able to pull it off. With films like Sicario and Arrival under his belt, too, he’s certainly proven that he has the skills for it. Maybe, finally, this could finally be the attempt that gives this iconic sci-fi story the adaptation it deserves.