‘Dune’ Remake Taps ‘Arrival’ Director Denis Villeneuve

By February 1, 2017

If you liked Arrival, then you really should be excited about the upcoming Dune film relaunch.

That’s because Legendary Pictures has tapped Arrival‘s Oscar-nominated director, Denis Villeneuve to bring Frank Herbert’s story back to life on the big screen.

Brian Herbert, the son of the late author, broke the news Wednesday on Twitter, according to Dark Horizons.

Villeneueve earned his first Oscar nomination just last week for Arrival, about aliens coming to Earth, and a linguist played by Amy Adams tasked to communicate with them. The film is up for seven other nominations, but all – except for best picture – are in technical categories.

Legendary is moving rather quickly on its Dune project, which at least implied by Brian Herbert, will be a film series. Herbert and his sister Kim are both executive producers on the proposed project, announced when Legendary picked up the rights last November.

Before that, the rights to Dune have had an interesting run. Alejandro Jodorowsky had originally planned 14 films in the early 1970s based on the 1965 novel and subsequent books, but was cancelled for obvious financial reasons.

Universal Pictures jumped in during the 1980s, however, releasing Dune in 1984 starring Francesca Annis, Leonardo Cimino and Brad Dourif. Although the film would gross an equivalent of $64.1 million today, it was still a critical success, enough for Universal to retain the rights and create two high-rated miniseries for Syfy in the early 2000s, Frank Herbert’s Dune and Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune.

Paramount Pictures worked with the new rights holder, producer Richard P. Rubinstein, after that, with a film planned by Hancock director Peter Berg. Paramount, however, cancelled the project in 2011.

Now the rights belong to Legendary, behind such recent films as WarcraftStraight Outta Compton and Jurassic World. Since 2015, the eight films the studio has released in theaters have generated box office of $2.7 billion, or $338.4 million per film.

The company also is working to release its own super-monster franchise with the likes of King Kong and Godzilla.

Villeneuve, who got his big directing break in 2015 with Emily Blunt’s and Benicio Del Toro’s Sicario, just recently completed work on another classic science-fiction modernization – Blade Runner 2049. That film will hit theaters Oct. 6.

There is still no writer attached to the film, so it’s not clear what Legendary’s timetable is. But by bringing in a director so early in the process, it’s clear the studio is tasking Villenueve to lead the way.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.