The director hopes to shoot the second film in 2022.
Flashback. At the end of the 1990s, New Line took the crazy gamble of entrusting The Lord of the Rings to Peter Jackson. The filmmaker, then known for his fantastic low-budget films (Brain Dead, Meet the Feebles), had crashed with his first big project, Ghosts vs. Ghosts, worn by Michael J. Fox. This did not prevent the studio from hiring him and launching the production of the three feature films at once, with a shoot of more than a year (which would then be completed by numerous reshoots after the release of The Fellowship of the Ring). A crazy bet, when you think about it, especially in a genre – the heroic fantasy – little experienced in the cinema.
Despite his solid resume as a sci-fi director (First contact, Blade Runner 2049), Denis Villeneuve did not have that chance. Certainly, Warner Bros. offered him a huge budget (we are talking about at least $ 165 million) and a five-star cast (Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac…). But the Canadian filmmaker was only able to shoot half of the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s book. Because it’s good Dune part one hitting theaters this week. And we will now have to cross our fingers and hope that the box office follows so that the studio gives the green light for the second part.
Denis Villeneuve: “With Dune, I tried to make the most popular film possible”
As he recognized during an interview with Variety, it was obviously not his choice: “At first, I wanted to shoot both parts simultaneously. For various reasons, it couldn’t be done, and I accepted the challenge of doing part one and waiting to see if the film got enough excitement. By filming the first part, I really put all my passion into it, in case this was the only movie. But I am optimistic.“
Villeneuve is working hard on the writing of the sequel, which he hopes to be able to shoot in the fall of 2022, and Rebecca Ferguson, who was interviewed with him by Variety, is also very enthusiastic about the idea of returning to her role as Dame Jessica, the mother of Paul Atréides (Timothée Chalamet): “I deeply love the complexity of this character. I can’t wait to read something, to find out what to expect.“
Thanks to Denis Villeneuve, Dune enters the era of franchises [critique]
“Yes Dune: part 2 is done, it will be an incredible playground for me“, continues Villeneuve, who will not have to redo all the contextualization work of the first film:”It will only be pure cinema pleasure on the second part. I don’t want to speak for the whole team, but I think that we really created a family spirit on this film and to find everyone again, that would be heaven.“.
The ball is now in the spectators’ court, and Warner Bros. Who will have the last word. We can also note that Villeneuve’s speech on the simultaneous release of Dune on HBO Max has changed significantly over the months. While he said that the Warner “may have killed the Dune franchise“last December, he explained a few weeks ago that the real enemy of cinema was the pandemic, while asserting that”watching Dune on a television is like going speedboat in a bathtub ”.
As a reminder, despite its good reviews, Blade Runner 2049 is considered a small flop at the box office. Dune will have to do better, in a difficult context, for the second part to be validated. In France, in any case, it’s off to a good start since the film signed the best start of the year, ahead of Fast and Furious 9 :
First sessions of September 15: Dune records the best start of the year