This is how the sci-fi epic became a cinematic myth

It’s already twice filming of the science fiction bestseller “Dune” failed. Well has Denis Villeneuve filmed “‘Star Wars’ for adults” – and added another chapter to the myth.

“Dune” – the name alone is a myth. Not just because Frank Herberts Since its appearance in 1965, the template has been considered one of the great novels of science fiction. “Dune” is also a myth because previous attempts to film the complex work have failed. But now it has Denis Villeneuve, French-Canadian filmmaker and, at least since the drug thriller “Sicario”, perhaps the most important contemporary director, accepted the material. And he’s added its best chapter yet to the “Dune” saga.

Timothée Chalamet plays Paul Atreides, a young man whose family is in control of the Desert planets Arrakis should take over. on Arrakis the spice is mined, a raw material that is indispensable in the world of “Dune”. Because the Spice, which is only available here, makes it possible to travel through space. And what’s more, it also has the ability to extend people’s lives and expand their consciousness. Indeed Pauls Family isn’t the only one interested in Arrakis, and so a struggle for supremacy in the universe breaks out, from which the Fremen in particular, the natives of Arrakis. Oscar Isaac plays Leto Atreides, Pauls Vater, Rebecca Ferguson is Lady Jessica, Leto’s partner. Josh Brolin is as Pauls See mentor Stellan Skarsgård plays the bad guy Baron Harkonnen.

Salvador Dali as a space emperor

Big names are definitely not enough to make a film a success, especially not a mammoth project like “Dune”. That had to be David Lynch It was extremely painful to find out when he contacted a filming from Herberts Roman made. Being “Desert planet“, according to the German distribution title, offered stars like Jürgen Prochnow and Sting on, but it was still a disaster. “I knew I was getting into something that I wasn’t right for,” wrote Lynch Years later in his autobiography. Being “Desert planet“devoured huge amounts of money and was so mutilated by the producers in the editing room that a film was finally released in 1984 that was barely understood. After all, for Kyle MacLachlanwho back then the Paul Atreides “Dune” was the beginning of a world career.

That “Dune” is a difficult subject would have Lynch actually know. Years before him, a no less extravagant director had tried the epic: Alejandro Jodorowsky. The Chilean had become an underground favorite with films like “El Topo” and “The Sacred Mountain.” In 1975 one had Jodorowsky commissioned with the shooting of “Dune”, a major project on which he could only fail.

His “Dune”, however, had what it takes to be a masterpiece, as shown by the many storyboards that have been preserved from that time and those in the documentation “Jodorowskys Dune “can be seen. None less than Salvador Dali was supposed to take on the role of Emperor Shaddam IV, for $ 100,000 per minute of screen time, Pink Floyd compose the music, H. R. Giger design the set. When $ 2 million had been spent, the producers withdrew, and Jodorowskys perhaps the best film was never made.

A project in good hands

With Denis Villeneuve “Dune” has now found a director who has experience with costly large-scale projects. The filmmaker, born in Quebec in 1967, drew attention to himself in 2010 with the drama “The Woman Who Sings – Incendies”, and later shot the kidnapping thriller “Prisoners” (co Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal) as well as the mysterious psychodrama “Enemy”. With “Sicario” he directed one of the most exciting films of the last few years before he finally shot his first science fiction film in 2016: In “Arrival” he let aliens land on earth and a linguist made contact with the beings. “Arrival” was one of the most unusual contributions to science fiction, a reflection on being and language and at the same time incredibly captivating. One year later the next masterpiece, “Blade Runner 2049 “, the continuation of Ridley Scotts Cult film and at least as big as the original.

“‘Dune’ is my world”, has Villeneuve said a few years ago. He wanted to shoot nothing less than a “‘Star Wars’ for adults” – incidentally, the producers once expected something similar from David Lynch. Villeneuve “Dune” has actually become a gigantic work in which each picture has only one goal: complete overwhelming. The camera indulges in endless images of the Desert planets, Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack evokes a mysterious past, Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides is excellently staffed. Frank Herberts Roman is also about the fragile relationship between humans and their environment, a message that could hardly be more relevant today Villeneuve takes up in his film.

Sequel follows?

A film release was originally planned for Christmas 2020, but nothing came of it due to the pandemic. On September 16, “Dune” will finally start – in Germany only in movie theaters, in the USA parallel to the cinema release also on the streaming service HBO Max, which belongs to the Warner film studio. For director Villeneuvewho had apparently not been asked for his opinion before this decision was made, an absurdity. “There is absolutely no love for the cinema or for the audience here,” he railed in a guest article for the trade journal “Variety” and added elsewhere: “Warner Bros. may have killed the ‘Dune’ franchise.”

Meanwhile it seems Villeneuve having calmed down and is determined to continue “Dune”. Because the film that is now in the cinemas only covers the first half of Frank Herberts Novel. He would never have agreed to shoot “Dune” if he had had to squeeze the plot of the book into a single film, the director said in an interview with Vanity Fair last year: “This world is too complex.” So a sequel is firmly planned, you have to Villeneuve just let. His film allegedly cost 165 million US dollars, money that cannot be easily recovered in times of Corona. Villeneuve In any case, he is confident: he wants to start shooting as early as next year, the director said a few days ago.



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