Ok, now you can start breathing again!
Dune by Frank Herbert was first published in 1965, and very soon after, it was deemed as a very filmable story. Many tried to bring the vast deserts of Arrakis on screen. Famous Alejandro Jodorowski tried, and he was deep into preproduction and casting before he gave up. His choices for the cast were… let’s just say, inspired: Orson Welles as Baron Harkonen, Salvador Dali as Emperor and his own son as Paul.
In 1984, another famous name tackled Dune, and this time, it made it to screen. David Lynch had his own vision of the story, and cut out many things from the book. It was then recut without him, and he ended up renouncing his work on the film. It had production design by H. R. Giger, and diverse cast, with Kyle MacLachlan in his debut, Patrick Stewart, Sting and May von Sydow.
Then came the SyFy Channel mini series, with William Hurt, Ian McNeice and Alec Newman. It was faithful to the book, but suffered from low budget and filming in Czech Republic, not generally known for it’s deserts. It also had a sequel, Children of Dune that adapted Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, and helped launch the carrier of James McAvoy.
In 2016, Legendary Pictures announced that they got the rights to Dune, and started preproduction. Soon, Denis Vilneuve, known for Arrival, Siccario and Blade Runner 2049 was annonuced as the director. Fans all over the world were ecstatic.
And then we got the cast:
- Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, the scion of House Atreides
- Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Paul’s Bene Gesserit mother and concubine to Duke Leto
- Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, a nobleman newly bestowed with the stewardship of the dangerous planet Arrakis, source of the spice
- Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, the weapons master of House Atreides and one of Paul’s mentors
- Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the sworn enemy to Leto and former steward of Arrakis
- Dave Bautista as Glossu Rabban, the brutish nephew of Baron Harkonnen
- Stephen McKinley Henderson as Thufir Hawat, a Mentat loyal to House Atreides
- Zendaya Coleman as Chani, a mysterious young Fremen woman and Paul’s love interest
- David Dastmalchian as Piter De Vries, a twisted Mentat loyal to the Baron
- Chang Chen as Dr. Wellington Yueh, a Suk doctor in the employ of the Atreides family
- Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Dr. Liet-Kynes, Chani’s mother and the leading ecologist and peacekeeper on Arrakis
- Charlotte Rampling as Gaius Helen Mohiam, a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother and the Emperor’s Truthsayer
- Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, the swordmaster of House Atreides and one of Paul’s mentors
- Javier Bardem as Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen tribe at Sietch Tabr
Although reimagining Dr Liet-Kynes, famously a man, and father of Chani in the books (and played by Max von Sydow in 1984) as a woman of color was seen as controversial, we have to see the movie before we can judge.
Filming took place in Budapest, Hungary and in the deserts of Jordan.
Dune is scheduled to be released theatrically in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures on December 18, 2020, in IMAX and 3D.