- 17 January 2008
- By John Howell
After two flawed versions, the first by David Lynch in 1984, and the second by the Sci-Fi Channel in 2000, the possibility of an entirely new, big budget production of Frank Herbert's Dune novels is welcome news.
In October, Byran Merritt, grandson of the late Frank Herbert, commented in a Dune forum that "Although only a rumour, I've heard that 'someone' at the studio wants Dune really badly and has been a fan of the novel for 'years'.
They're not saying who this is (and it might just be hype) but I'm holding out hope that whoever this might be is a big enough fan that he/she will do the book justice. Supposedly it's some director."
Later MTV Movies followed up with the news that the Director in question is Peter Berg (Director of The Kingdom) and the studio is Paramount.
Peter Berg has been quoted as saying that his involvement was a "done deal" and that if not for the Hollywood writer's strike "we'd be in it right now". He called himself a massive fan of the books and called the plans for his version of Dune "big, big, big".
However, responding to a post on 27 December asking whether a release date of 2009 on Peter Berg's Wikipedia page was in any way accurate, Byran Merritt wrote:"None whatsoever. The attorneys are still in negotiations..."
Still, it's clear that discussions are happening. If not Peter Berg, let's hope someone else begins a new Dune movie in the near future.
While David Lynch's 1984 movie version had great production values, a rousing soundtrack by Toto, and excellent performances, notably from Patrick Stewart, Kyle MacLachlan and Max Von Sydow, it was killed by a messy screenplay with a stupid ending (which had nothing to do with the book) along with pointlessly gory scenes of the Baron Harkonen. His boils and sores, for example, although mentioned in the book, were way over the top. And what was Sting doing dancing around in his underpants?
In particular, who can forget the cat milking scene? I certainly can't. This was easily one of the silliest scenes in science fiction movie history. If you still have fond memories of the movie, watch the cat milking scene on YouTube here and you may feel differently. What was David Lynch thinking? Could someone also explain to me what the mouse was doing there?
In contrast to David Lynch's big budget version, the Sci-Fi Channel's miniseries which began in 2000 with Dune and continued with Children of Dune, had low production values and some average acting (especially the supporting cast in Dune), but at least made an attempt to follow the books.
We need someone to make up for the first two attempts. At least give Dune the big screen treatment while attempting to capture the spirit of the books. While complex, the source material is rich, and like the Lord of the Ring's movies, there's a massive fan base ready and waiting to queue up for tickets if someone can get it right.
Hopefully the next Dune article you read on this site will be confirmation that a new Dune movie has been greenlit and production is in full swing.
Before we leave the subject of the Dune series and cats (hopefully forever), take a look at this picture I stumbled upon recently. Could this be the first publicity shot from Paramount's new Dune?
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