Just before Thanksgiving, Legendary Entertainment picked up the rights to bring author Frank Herbert's DUNE saga to the screen - and apparently they're moving ahead with this endeavor quite quickly. Just before Christmas, we already know who's in talks to direct the DUNE reboot: Denis Villeneuve, whose sci-fi film ARRIVAL is currently in theatres as he guides BLADE RUNNER 2049 toward its October 6, 2017 release.
Legendary has the rights to develop DUNE television projects as well as theatrical features. These projects will be produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, and Cale Boyter, with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, and Kim Herbert executive producing.
DUNE has been adapted for the screen twice before, most famously by David Lynch for a 1984 film. The SciFi Channel also produced two DUNE mini-series, one an adaptation of the original novel and the other a combination of the second and third novels, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune (which it took its title from).
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 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.
We'll have to wait and see if the deal closes with Villeneuve, but he's definitely high on the list of the most interesting filmmakers they could have chosen at this time. Just a few months ago, the director revealed that DUNE was his dream project, but he feared that the rights situation was too complicated. Legendary handled that issue, and now it looks like they might be making his dream come true.
Virginia Madsen in Lynch's DUNE