Denis Villeneuve has become a hot commodity in Hollywood thanks to a string of critically acclaimed films that include the drug war thriller Sicario, the crime drama Prisoners, and the upcoming sci-fi adaptation Arrival, which is already generating a lot of positive buzz. Currently hard at work on the Blade Runner sequel, the director recently name-dropped Dune as the dream project he would love to take on down the road.
Calling it “a long-standing dream of mine,” Villeneuve said he would like to be the latest filmmaker to adapt Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic set on the far-off desert planet of Arrakis.
“It’s a long process to get the rights, and I don’t think I will succeed,” Villeneuve told Variety of the obstacles he sees in bringing his own big-screen version of Dune to audiences.
The director indicated that he has always wanted to work in the sci-fi genre, so his recent projects — November’s Arrival and the still-untitled Blade Runner sequel due in October 2017 — have been a welcome shift in his focus. Although he acknowledged he might have some difficulty snagging the Dune dream project, he already has some original sci-fi films in the works.
“I would love to write something myself,” he said. “I have two [sci-fi] projects right now … It’s too early to talk about them.”
Villeneuve cited 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind as sci-fi films that influenced his approach to filmmaking, along with the aforementioned Blade Runner.
“I’m always looking for sci-fi material, and it’s difficult to find original and strong material that’s not just about weaponry,” he explained.
Herbert’s Dune is one of the most successful sci-fi books of all time, spawning five sequels and multiple spinoffs in various media. David Lynch famously adapted the book for a 1984 film, and it was later adapted by the Sci-Fi Channel for a 2000 miniseries titled Frank Herbert’s Dune and a 2003 sequel, Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune.