Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth, best known for Forrest Gump, has signed on to pen Denis Villeneuve’s reboot of Dune. Legendary Pictures recently closed a deal to bring Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel to the big screen, and not only is the studio planning to bring the film franchise to your local movie theater, but it has also secured the rights for television projects based upon the iconic book as well.
Villeneuve, who was tapped to helm Dune earlier this year, is currently in post-production for Blade Runner 2049 and is arguably considered one of the best new voices in Hollywood today thanks to the success of films like Sicario and Arrival. It was just a matter of time before Legendary teamed him up with a writer of the same caliber.
A new report by Variety revealed Roth’s involvement. Besides writing Robert Zemeckis’ beloved slice of Americana, the scribe has also worked on films such as Steven Spielberg’s Munich as well as the David Fincher film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – both of which earned him Academy Award nominations.
This isn’t the first time Hollywood has made a Dune film; the first attempt was directed by David Lynch and starred Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides. However, Lynch was critical of his own work and thought that in order to do the book justice, a film adaptation would have need to be longer than four hours. The SyFy channel (Sci-Fi at the time) put that to the test when they released Frank Herbert’s Dune miniseries and the sequel Children of Dune, which some consider to be superior to the Lynch version despite a noticeable lack in budget.
Even though Legendary Pictures has scooped up the rights to the franchise there is still very little known about their plans for the property, or when it will even premiere. While we do know that the studio is planning both a television series and film, we don’t know if they will be related in the same way the Marvel Cinematic Universe is. Just how much of what Villeneuve and Roth are planning will impact the TV series — if at all — won’t be known for a while.
The pedigree in terms of filmmaker that Legendary has lined up with both the director and writer indicates that Legendary means business. Villeneuve has been chasing the project for much of his professional career and refers to it as the project of his life. Arrival has shown that he knows how to make a character piece set in a science-fiction film and Roth has written many character studies, so Dune is in good hands.
Dune is currently in development and does not have a release date.