Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Daily “Dune”: Denis Villeneuve Gives Editing Update During Film Fest

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Mary Anne Butler
Mary Anne Butler (Mab) has been part of the fast-paced world of journalism since she was 15, getting her start in album reviews and live concert coverage for a nationally published (print) music magazine. She eventually transitioned to online media, writing for such sites as UGO/IGN, ComicsOnline, Geek Magazine, Ace of Geeks, Aggressive Comix (where she is still Editor-in-Chief), Bleeding Cool (where she was News Editor), and now NerdBot as News Editor. Over the past 10 years, she’s built a reputation at conventions across the globe as a cosplayer (occasionally), photographer (constantly), panelist and moderator (mostly), and reporter (always). Interviews, reviews, observations, breaking news, and objective reporting are the name of the game for the founder of Harkonnen Knife Fight, a Dune-themed band with an international presence. Though she be but little, she is fierce.

“It’s like playing music with someone, you need to be in the same room with them,” Denis Villeneuve says about working remotely on completing his vision for the epic retelling of Frank Herbert‘s seminal science fiction tome, “Dune.” The production was gearing up to head back to Budapest for reshoots to complete the project when the worldwide pandemic shut everything down.

While speaking with the Shanghai International Film Festival, Villeneuve gave some insights into how it’s been very painful for him not to be in the same room with his frequent collaborator, editor Joe Walker.


“The editor, the person editing my movie is also like a psychiatrist in a way, he’s the one dealing with my anxiety and panic attacks, my fears and receiving my joys. In the future, if ever something like this happens again, definitely i will make sure my editor is close too. Editing is a very important part of the film making process for me, maybe the most important part.”

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Director Denis Villenueve and Javier Bardem (Stilgar) on the set of “Dune” in Wadi Rum, PHOTO BY CHIABELLA JAMES for Vanity Fair

Today actually marks the 55th publishing anniversary of the first novel, and we are all waiting with [spice] baited breath for the first teaser trailer for the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures release that is still holding for a December 2020 theatrical drop. You can check out and order the new covers and printings of the main Dune series here.

This will be the third time “Dune” has been adapted [we were going to say fourth, but Anton Jodorowsky’s Dune as we know never made it to actual production].

Beginning with David Lynch‘s spectacular but much maligned 1984 version for De Laurentiis and Universal Pictures which starred Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atredies, Francesca Annis as The Lady Jessica, Jürgen Prochnow as Duke Leto Atredies, Kenneth McMillan as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Sean Young as Chani, Sting as Feyd Harkonnen, and Alicia Witt as Alia.

Then, there was the SYFY channel’s mini series in 2000, directed by John Harrison. Yes, we know lots of people like this version best, but, we do NOT. It starred Alec Newman as Paul, Saskia Reeves as Lady Jessica, William Hurt as Duke Leto, Ian McNeice as Baron Harkonnen, Barbora Kodetová as Chani, Matt Keeslar as Feyd, and Laura Burton as Alia.

This new version, which by all intent and purposes seems to be massive in its adaptation as director Villeneuve is splitting the first book into two films, has an extremely diverse cast that immediately attracted our attention. Timothée Chalamet will be Paul, Rebecca Fergeson is Jessica, Oscar Issac is Duke Leto, Stellan Skarsgård is the Baron, Zendaya as Chani, but no casting for Feyd or Alia yet (as we’re assuming they show up in the second film). You also can’t ignore the likes of Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, and Babs Olusanmokun as Jamis (we are friends of Jamis).

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As far as we know, there may be something official coming as early as Monday for the film, and we CANNOT wait.

We will of course let you know as soon as we know ANYTHING.

Shai Hulud.

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