Legendary has just acquired film and TV rights to Frank Herbert’s seminal science fiction novel Dune after coming to agreement with the Herbert estate. This is not the first time Dune has been brought to both the small and big screens over the novel’s 51 years since Herbert wrote his iconic book. Many filmmakers attempted but failed over the years to bring this iconic novel to life in the way that Herbert and sci-fi fans imagined.
There were many attempts to do so in the early 1970s, but all those failed. There was a movie adaptation, written and directed by David Lynch in 1984 that starred Kyle MacLachlan and was produced by Raffaella and Dino De Laurentiis, but it bombed and was not anything like the high quality of work we have seen from Lynch over his career. Too many cooks? At one point even Ridley Scott thought about bringing this wide-ranging tome to the screen. There was also a three-part TV mini-series adapted and directed by John Harrison in 2000 that starred William Hurt.
Legendary is clearing looking at this project as a possible franchise and the book itself sets itself up for several movies. To do the book justice, it actually needs more than one film. The company has been looking for a franchise property, especially given their new owners, specifically Chinese-based Dalian Wanda Group Co. which spent (over-spent) $3.5 billion to acquire Legendary at the beginning of the year.
Any film or TV project through this current Herbert estate deal will be produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent and Cale Boyter, with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert serving as executive producers.
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 the 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 agreement was negotiated by Mike Ross and Jen Grazier on behalf of Legendary and Marcy Morris and attorney Barry Tyerman on behalf of the Herbert family.