Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has quickly risen through the ranks of Hollywood, impressing both critics and audiences with dramas like Prisoners and Sicario. His next movie, the sci-fi work Arrival, is earning rave reviews out of various fall film festivals and is seen by many as an early contender for this year’s Oscars. Villeneuve has parlayed his success into a major gig calling the shots on Blade Runner 2, which will open in theaters next year. Simply put, it seems like he’s going to have a long and fruitful career.
Several cinephiles are curious to see which projects Villeneuve takes on in the future, and he’s on the verge of becoming a director with the clout to make anything he wants. As one would suspect judging by his recent offerings (Arrival and Blade Runner), Villeneuve is a huge fan of the sci-fi genre and would like to keep playing in that sandbox. In fact, he has his eyes on remaking a classic title, but he’s unsure it will ever come into fruition.
In an interview with Variety, Villeneuve revealed that he would like to take a stab at adapting the famous novel Dune for the big screen, before stating that he is also developing two original sci-fi concepts of his own:
I had been wanting to do sci-fi for a very long time. “2001: A Space Odyssey” is a movie that really impressed me as a teenager. And also “Blade Runner.” And “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is also one of my favorites. I’m always looking for sci-fi material, and it’s difficult to find original and strong material that’s not just about weaponry. A longstanding dream of mine is to adapt “Dune,” but it’s a long process to get the rights, and I don’t think I will succeed. Also I would love to write something myself. I have two [sci-fi] projects right now that are in various stages. It’s too early to talk about them.
Dune, of course, was first turned into a film by David Lynch in 1984. At the time of its release, the movie was a box office flop, but over the years it has earned cult status. Additionally, the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune explored director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ambitious, but failed, attempt to make Dune himself. In 2000, a TV miniseries aired. A film remake of the property was in the works for several years, but as of 2011, the new Dune is dead. No word on the project has come about in the last five years, but if someone like Villeneuve is interested, it may get the ball rolling again.
For those not in the know, Dune tells the story of a Duke’s son who leads desert warriors against a galactic emperor after his father is assassinated. It is noteworthy for its elements of politics, religion, and war, and also revolves around a fictitious drug trade and the struggle to control it. The novel received the Hugo Award in 1966 and won the Nebula Award for Best Novel. Anyone familiar with it knows the material would be right in Villeneuve’s wheelhouse as a director – an epic narrative set against stunning visuals that draw the audience in. Though plenty of space operas have been released in the past few decades, Dune is considered one of the all-time greats and could certainly set itself apart from the rest.
That said, fans of Villeneuve shouldn’t get too excited about seeing Doom through his lens. As the director mentions, the rights issue could prevent him from making the film, so he could very well turn his attention to other films following the conclusion of Blade Runner 2. Chances are, it would be easier to move forward with either of his original ideas he mentions in the interview, and Villeneuve may want to create something of his own following the duo of Arrival and Blade Runner 2. The latter, obviously, is a sequel to the 1982 film, while the former is based on the short story The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. It will be interesting to see what he does next, as Villeneuve will have no shortage of options available to him.
Arrival opens in U.S. theaters November 11, 2016.
Blade Runner 2 will be released in U.S. theaters October 6, 2017.