With Arrival inspiring buzz and Blade Runner 2049 poised to follow suit, director Denis Villeneuve is, not surprisingly, in high demand. And now the Canadian director and writer has officially been hired to direct Legendary’s Dune adaptation.
The news was confirmed by Brian Herbert, the son of Dune author Frank Herbert, in a post on Twitter. Villeneuve’s involvement had been rumored since December 2016, several months after the filmmaker had publicly expressed interest in tackling another big-screen adaptation of the sci-fi saga during an interview.
It's official — Legendary Pictures has signed the very talented Denis Villeneuve to direct the exciting new DUNE series film project.
— Brian Herbert (@DuneAuthor) February 1, 2017
While there’s still some uncertainty about Villeneuve’s vision for the project, just the idea of him at the helm should be enough to spark fans’ excitement. Villeneuve has impressed with crime thrillers such as Prisoners and Sicario, and is now doing the same in the sci-fi genre. His latest, Arrival, opened in November 2016 and is an Oscar contender.
Meanwhile, Blade Runner 2049 isn’t due out until October 2017, but the film looks extremely promising. The sequel stars Harrison Ford in his original role, as well as Ryan Gosling. Ridley Scott, the director of the first fim, is back to executive produce, and he himself singled out Villeneuve to take the baton.
With Dune, Villeneuve will take on a story originally written by Herbert and then adapted by David Lynch for a 1984 film of the same name. Dune starred Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides, a man whose family governs the desert planet Arrakis. The movie follows Paul as his family is betrayed and he fights to reclaim control.
The original Dune wasn’t a box office success by any means — it brought in just $30.93 million on a budget of $40 million, according to Box Office Mojo — but it has become a cult classic in the years since. With his track record, Villeneuve seems like a smart bet for more immediate commercial success, not to mention a quality film.
Updated 2/1/2017 by Rick Marshall with confirmation that Villenueve will direct the film.