‘Blade Runner 2049’ Helmer Denis Villeneuve Eyed to Direct ‘Dune’ Reboot (EXCLUSIVE)

Denis Villeneuve
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“Blade Runner: 2049” director Denis Villeneuve looks ready to jump into another classic fixture from the sci-fi world.

Sources tell Variety that Villeneuve is in early talks to direct Legendary’s “Dune” reboot for the company. Legendary has not commented on the news.

Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, Legendary closed a deal with the Frank Herbert estate for the rights his iconic novel, granting the production entity not only rights to film but also TV-based projects on the sci-fi property.

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The projects would be produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, and Cale Boyter, with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, and Kim Herbert serving as executive producers.

Set in the distant future, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, whose family accepts control of the desert planet Arrakis. As the only producer of a highly valuable resource, control of Arrakis is highly contested among competing noble families. After Paul and his family are betrayed, the story explores themes of politics, religion, and man’s relationship to nature as Paul leads a rebellion to restore his family’s control of Arrakis.

The novel was also adapted as the 1984 film directed by David Lynch. The film starred Kyle MacLachlan and at the time was thought of as a flop, getting poor reviews and grossing just $30.9 million, but more recently has attained cult status.

It’s unknown if Villeneuve would be involved in any TV-related projects, just that he would direct the first film to come out of this new universe.

The director has already delivered three original projects that have over-performed at the box office while also being critically applauded as award season contenders. His latest, “Arrival,” opened with $23 million at the box office and has already earned $94 million worldwide on a $45 million budget.

Following those successes, he was handpicked by Ridley Scott to help reboot the “Blade Runner” franchise with “Blade Runner: 2049,” which bows next October and stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, who reprises his role as Detective Rick Deckard.

He is repped by CAA.

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  1. Mike ODonnell says:

    Obviously this was not written by a very literate scifi fan. It was also redone previously as a three part made for cable miniseries. I do not understand why scifi related projects are covered by un- knowledgeable writers.

  2. GK says:

    please don’t suck – DUNE is my heart

  3. Dunstan says:

    Dune’s popularity as a book completely eludes me. The minute you start talking about giant sand worms, you’ve lost me. The previous versions were laughable. Best to stay away from this colossal turkey of a premise.

  4. Leto Atreides says:

    Exclusive? That story came out a week ago already!

  5. John says:

    This is awesome! Villeneuve brings a stylish realism and seriousness to everything he does that fits very well. “Dune” needs to be done as real as possible, without the cheesy effects and surreal stuff of Lynch’s version. Villeneuve is a great choice.

  6. Tim says:

    I’m both excited and terrified. I so want to finally see a quality adaptation of this novel. I just don’t want it to become a multimedia Hollywood joke.

  7. John says:

    Not expecting much from the new Bladrunner. Think it was huge error to cast pretty boy Gosling.

  8. Jamie Daborn says:

    Denis seems to be the new Ridley Scott it terms of releasing one film a year. I guess the will be released in 2019 after he films The Son with Jake Gyllenhaal.

  9. kenfurman46 says:

    Hollywood allows no originality. Even a bomb like Dune rises again and again and again. When is the reimagined Santa Claus v. The Martians reboot?

    • cadavra says:

      Well, isn’t that the point? If a movie didn’t work, then a remake could theoretically fix the problems and get it right the second time. This is far better than remaking a genuinely classic movie and doing a lousy job of it. (cough “Ben-Hur” cough)

      • cadavra says:

        Mike, yes. It’s a great sadness that the industry, which once upon a time could turn out great westerns without breaking a sweat, has lost that ability. We’ve now gone through two generations of filmmakers and actors who aren’t to the saddle born–save Costner and maybe Selleck–and the genre remains for the most part comatose.

      • Mike ODonnell says:

        Or ‘the Magnificent 7, which, though a Kurosawa remake (7 Samurai) itself, was way better. The original practically made the music one of the characters, then they go doing rap schlock. Ugh.

      • Tim says:

        Well said!

  10. Pattibone says:

    arrival earned $140mm worldwide…

  11. Imzadi says:

    Why are the calling it a reboot? Blade Runner 2 is not a reboot, it’s a sequel. If Dune is made, it’s not a reboot, but a new adaptation of the book.

    • Tim says:

      The term “reboot” applies to sequels to long dormant films/franchises. It means to reinvigorate or breath new life into…

    • Jack Isidore says:

      Semantics, schemantics. Reboot/remake/redo – it’s another version of the same film.

      • Lynch’s admirable but dysfunctional adaption compels a fresh perspective on this extraordinary theme.
        Mr. Villineuve has proven his capabilities to relate a complex story in an eloquent and subtle narritive without the cheezey wizbang CGI and hollow portrayals from the first film.

      • Jack Isidore says:

        Semantics, Schemantics.

        Again, as I stated earlier, Wayne, it’s another re-do version Dune which has already been made twice. Whether it’s from the source doesn’t matter, it’s still another film or TV version of Dune.

      • Wayne says:

        No, it’s an adaptation of the same source as both the film and the TV movie from a decade ago. The real reason that they want to remake this is simple–franchise potential. Herbert wrote six Dune novels and his son with Kevin J.Anderson revived interest with a series of pedestrian novels mining the same material and using an outline that Herbert had put together before he died.

    • kenfurman46 says:

      Pity. there are so many great sci-if stories that have never been made.

    • kenfurman46 says:

      Spare the semantics. You know what she means

  12. Tina Turner says:

    We don’t neeed another reeeeeboot…..

    • James says:

      And shockingly no mention of Jodorovsky…

      • Mike says:

        Shocking, no mention in the article of the SciFi/Syfy mini-series for Dune and Children of Dune (which merged the books Children of Dune and Dune Messiah). Like any adaptation for screen, they had to make decision about what parts of the story to include, but were far more faithful than Lynch’s movie. As for Jodorowsky, his visuals were interesting, but he was planning to diverge from Herbert’s story even more than Lynch did!

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