Pierre Morel’s ‘Dune’ Gets New Screenwriter

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 9:37 am,

Dune Chase Palmer Pierre Morels Dune Gets New Screenwriter

In the first few days of this year we reported that Taken director, Pierre Morel is replacing Peter Berg as director of the upcoming remake/re-imagining of Dune (Berg is off directing Battleship). For those of you who are fans of Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 book you will be glad to hear Morel is looking to stay very faithful to the source material with his movie.

There’s been speculation over what’s going on with the script for Dune: Berg was supposedly knee-deep in developing a script by Josh Zetumer (Bourne 4), however when Morel came aboard supposedly a new writer was going to be brought in to make major changes to Zetumer’s script, in order to get it closer to what the original book is (I’m assuming that means Zetumer’s wasn’t all that faithful).

Now we learn – via THR – that a new screenwriter has been found to make those changes. Chase Palmer has been hired to write a new script for Dune, taking what was in Zetumer’s draft and working with Morel to incorporate the director’s ideas into it. But it’s more than just the odd creature design here or action scene there – it was reported at the end of last month that Morel is planning to completely re-draft the script (although he still admitted Zetumer and Berg’s ideas were “interesting… just not our vision.”).

So I guess Palmer’s job is a big one; Morel really must be adamant on sticking close to Herbert’s book by the sounds of it.

Dune Pierre Morel Pierre Morels Dune Gets New Screenwriter

Pierre Morel takes on Frank Herbert's 'Dune'

Palmer isn’t a huge established screenwriting name quite yet, having only written, directed and produced a couple of short films (Shock and Awe and Neo-Noir). However, he has an upcoming film called Number 13 (which he is writing and directing) that has an interesting premise: Alfred Hitchcock on the set of one of his movies gets caught up in a love triangle and murder mystery not dissimilar to his own narratives. Palmer also worked on the scripts for No Blood, No Guts, No Glory for Paramount and The Dallas Buyer’s Club for Universal. I’m sure if he turns in a well-received Dune script he’ll be in demand for years to come.

Morel and Palmer have a tough job ahead of them adapting Dune, as it’s not an easy property to get right (as evidenced by David Lynch’s attempt in1984 – and that’s coming from a Lynch worshiper). Although since Morel is such a huge fan of the book, I have faith he will get it right.

What do you think of the new screenwriter that’s been hired for Dune? Are you hoping that Palmer and Morel stick as close to Herbert’s book as possible? Who would you like to see star in the movie?

No word on when we might see Dune in theaters. But as always stay tuned to Screen Rant to find out!

Source: THR and Latino Review

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TAGS: dune

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  1. Sounds like it could be cool. Fingers crossed that the spice will flow…

  2. It's easy when talking about this property to feel what the Sarah Connor character is suppose to have felt when you just know the low down but no one else believes. When has it ever been possible to stuff ten pounds of something into a container that will only hold five? I guess as long as fools can be parted from their money, their will always be someone willing to try…

  3. It's been a very very long time since I first saw this at the cinema. I loved the books but found the film less interesting, a little slow, although elegant in it's presentation.

    I for one would welcome this version. Hopefully it will stick a lot closer to the books.

    Straight off the starting blocks, it certainly looks like it's in good hands. :-)

  4. What do you qualify as a success in bringing the movie closer to the source? Would excising Lynch's stamp on his script be sufficient? His script held about as much of “Dune” story wise as you could squeeze into 2.5 hours. Remember he wrote seven drafts until he had a shootable script and worked with two other writers. Plus gave the audience internal monologues for the major characters and it still fell short. So, do you put the Banquet scene back in and cut out say the spice operation scene? Do you make Duncan's final battle more dramatic and insert Paul's brokering a deal with Dr. Kynes? Then say cut out the Barron's final encounter with Duke Leto and Dr. Yeuh? Then how does that effect the story in a way that makes it closer to the source? We can get scenes we never saw before but do you get any closer to knowing and enjoying the story as a whole? Say you did those things figuring people that saw this will catch the Lynch version to see the missing pieces. But the tone and symbolism and the intellectual connections between the two works won't match. The rich consistency of vision will be missing. Some characters will come off wrong enough to give you a deep dissatisfaction in comparing the two works. For me Saskia Reeves didn't start owning the Jessica role in the miniseries until she got to the water of life scene. Compare this to Francesca Annis's performance in Lynch's version. She owns that role right from the outset and for me never falters. That's just one example too. I could point out others.

    I'm interested in seeing what others see in this effort but I'm afraid I just can't see it in a single movie format. On top of this you had the studio balking at the budget. That's a bad sign on this, arguably an epic story…

  5. @the_old_man

    For me David Lynch's “Dune” remains a classic you either love or hate. I lean more towards love albeit with mixed feelings knowing that Lynch was working under a lot of pressure and didn't have the final cut in the editing room.

    You do raise a lot of valid points. I really don't know where to begin in terms of qualifying box office success by bringing a movie closer to the source. It's easier to do with comic book adaptations, but with Dune I do realize that the immense deep tapestry of the books is harder to adapt for the silver screen.

    I read somewhere that there were a number of rough cuts that never made it in the theatrical release. In all I think David Lynch had about 4 hours of usable filmed footage which was cut down to 137-minutes.

    I have never seen the 189-minute “Alan Smithee” version to which David Lynch gave his disapproval. Is it worth getting or does the extra footage take away from the narrative too much?

    Dune is one movie I will be repurchasing on Blue Ray. I love the aesthetics of the film. I guess I'm one of those fans who apart from reading sci-fi/fantasy novels growing up also read a lot of comic books, where I'm used to seeing what different writers and artists do with a particular title.

    I tend to see cinema in much the same way. I'm always curious to see what a new version will hold – good, bad or indifferent. :-)

    I know it will never happen but hypothetically what would you think of Peter Jackson treating the Dune saga as a trilogy? :-)

  6. @the_old_man

    For me David Lynch's “Dune” remains a classic you either love or hate. I lean more towards love albeit with mixed feelings knowing that Lynch was working under a lot of pressure and didn't have the final cut in the editing room.

    You do raise a lot of valid points. I really don't know where to begin in terms of qualifying box office success by bringing a movie closer to the source. It's easier to do with comic book adaptations, but with Dune I do realize that the immense deep tapestry of the books is harder to adapt for the silver screen.

    I read somewhere that there were a number of rough cuts that never made it in the theatrical release. In all I think David Lynch had about 4 hours of usable filmed footage which was cut down to 137-minutes.

    I have never seen the 189-minute “Alan Smithee” version to which David Lynch gave his disapproval. Is it worth getting or does the extra footage take away from the narrative too much?

    Dune is one movie I will be repurchasing on Blue Ray. I love the aesthetics of the film. I guess I'm one of those fans who apart from reading sci-fi/fantasy novels growing up also read a lot of comic books, where I'm used to seeing what different writers and artists do with a particular title.

    I tend to see cinema in much the same way. I'm always curious to see what a new version will hold – good, bad or indifferent. :-)

    I know it will never happen but hypothetically what would you think of Peter Jackson treating the Dune saga as a trilogy? :-)

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