Dune Gets ‘Taken’ Off Peter Berg’s Hands By New Director

Published 5 years ago by , Updated April 15th, 2014 at 11:18 am,

Dune Pierre Morel Dune Gets Taken Off Peter Bergs Hands By New Director

Back in August of last year it was reported that Hancock director Peter Berg had left the long gestating Dune remake/new adaptation. This came as a bit of a surprise since Berg had been working pretty hard on the project for quite a while, with reassurance coming from the director himself that the project was still a “go,” just a month before he left.

He has Battleships being attacked by aliens to attend to for the time being, anyway…

At the time of Berg’s departure from the project, two names were being thrown around to replace him in the director’s chair: Neill Blomkamp (District 9) and Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday). Of the two, it seemed like Marshall was maybe the more likely, since Blomkamp has stated before he isn’t particularly interested in doing “massive budget films, or creating huge spectacles,” and I think you’ll agree Dune ticks both those boxes.

However today comes news from Entertainment Weekly that neither Marshall nor Blomkamp are directing Dune – but rather Taken director, Pierre Morel. Paramount is currently looking for a new writer to add to the draft written by Josh Zetumer (who wrote a script for Bourne 4) in order to incorporate Morel’s vision. I guess with the length of time Berg was on the project (he was “confirmed” back in 2007) his stamp is going to be all over what they currently have…

dune header Dune Gets Taken Off Peter Bergs Hands By New Director

Morel plans to make a very faithful adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 book, and the project is being considered high priority by the studio. Morel isn’t exactly the first name I’d think of to helm a big-budget sci-fi epic like Dune – following such films as Taken and the free-running action flick, District 13, which aren’t exactly playing in the same sandbox. Nonetheless, at least they haven’t gone for someone totally unsuited and have picked someone who is more than competent. It’ll definitely be interesting to see what Morel does with this rather tough-to-pull-off material.

Morel’s last project was the fun-looking From Paris With Love, which is set for release at the start of next month, and he’s also attached to an action-thriller called Pursuit, based on the life of “conflict photographer,” Jason Howe. I’m pretty sure though, Dune is of much higher priority.

Do you think Morel is suited to the project or is there another director who should have be chosen instead? What are you expecting with this third go at adapting Herbert’s book?

Sources: Entertainment Weekly (thanks to Coming Soon)

TAGS: Dune
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  1. Chris your so right, but I’m beginning to think that Frank and his wife were so talented that an Einstein of film will have to appear to take this series of stories to a deserved treatment. Not even his son and the writing machine that’s Kevin Anderson have come close to their level of story telling.

    I’m tired of people not comprehending the fact that you’re talking multi-film presentation either. If “Avatar” as a project deserved the time and budget it got then the “Dune Chronicles” deserves at least that much attention. “Avatar,” for all its amazing achievement will never be literature and they won’t be remaking it or scratching their heads over it fifty years from now. I just hope that the producers and Morel will respect the material by giving the story the screen time to have the impact that it’s capable of.

    In their way both James Cameron and Chris Nolan have shown the industry again that a movie must be an event to capture the kind of money that will be necessary for the industry to survive. They’ve been shown that in the past. Lets hope it takes for a little longer this time…

  2. I think the thing is that no one has made such a good dune that they could build very much off of it. I kinda liked the sifi one but it was a for tv movie anyway. If they do this one well (and I really pray that they do) then we should be able to see them do the other 5 books. I’m not sure about the new director but at least he has done some other things even if I’m one of the only people on the planet that didn’t like taken. I’m not thrilled with him as the new choice but as a dune fan it won’t keep me from buying a ticket for opening night.

  3. Well Sam – that’s the point, really. You see – they are counting on the fact that you ARE a fan. Fan, as you well know, is short for Fanatic. The powers that be figure that you will lay down cash no matter what, and that it will at least make it’s money back. They will pump existing fan bases for all they’re worth. Now this isn’t a terrible thing if what is coming out is of good quality. The only way to make sure that they ARE good, is to realize that the power NOT to support them IS IN YOUR HANDS. YOU the AUDIENCE DECIDE. Boycott something that you know full well is the wrong way to handle a phenomena that you love with all your heart. Don’t let modern filmmakers get away with lazy writing, bad adaptations, or arbitrary concept changes.

    It’s over to you now.

  4. Personally, I loved the David Lynch movie from 1984. Kyle was awesome in the lead role and the rest of the cast were very good too. The made for tv Dune, for me, didn’t really do anythink as the production costs were obviously kept down (very noticable with the effects).
    If they do the remake Dune, they should (giving that this is a success) make the other books. We have the technology to make very very good adaptions, what with the advancements in CGI.
    So, fingers crossed that this movie is not f##ked up with the changing of the director.

  5. I have to agree w/ Paul77 – I loved the Lynch ’84 Dune w/ Kyle (and Sting!). Perhaps it’s just because that is the film I grew up with.

    I would definitely prefer to see a film made from the other books as well…but since everyone seem to be all about remakes these days, we’re just going to have to wait and see – and hopefully not be too disappointed.

    Unfortunately, like the RedLetterMedia guy said who made the hilarious “Star Wars: Phantom Menace” review on YouTube, once you’ve made a film (or a horrific remake/prequel) “It can’t be undone…it will never go away.”

  6. LOl yes it’s a shame we can’t go back in time and tell lucas to just stay away from star wars. As far as it goes with Dune – the first one I’ll watch no question – no way I keep going to see mes and children etc if the first isn’t good. So they really need to do this one right if they want to start a franchise (praying).

  7. They have to remake it because they just havent gotten it right yet. Dune is my favorite book EVER! The first book alone deserves a LOTR like trilogy to cover all the pertinent information. I welcome a remake and hope its well done.

  8. I really like the books and I haven’t seen David Lynch’s version, I have seen the SciFi interpretations and I liked them. Not so much the graphics (which of course were on the low budget end, it was a TV budget) but the casting was extraordinary.

    William Hurt – Duke Leto
    Alec Newman – Paul Atredies/ Muad’dib
    Ian McNiece – Baron Harkonnen
    Julie Cox – Princess Irulan

    Then it just continues in “Children of Dune” where they took books 2 and 3 and combined them together. I wondered how they would cast the twins, then, of course they raised their ages. But if they hadn’t we wouldn’t have character driven performances from recurring actors and new ones.

    The above mentioned actors (minus William Hurt) and:

    James McAvoy – Leto II
    Jessica Brooks – Ghanima
    Daniela Amavia – Alia Atredies
    Susan Sarandon – Princess Wensicia

    This is the first thing I had seen James McAvoy in and I have watched him in eager anticipation ever since. I actually said, out loud, in the theatre for “Chronicles of Narnia,” ‘Holy cow! That’s Leto!’ Which got me strange looks from the people around me.

    My apprehension is not with the fact that it’s another remake, its with the casting. These are complex characters with many facets. I don’t want them glossed over for the big budget appeal.

  9. Not a bad choice. Morel’s definitely got talent, so it’s not like they’re just hiring some music video director to fill in where Berg left off.

    It’s also somewhat amusing to look at the above comments. Can any of the fans of the books really say they thought that Lynch’s version was a faithful adaptation? Not that it wasn’t an enjoyable film, I definitely liked it, but it’s not the best starting off point for a Dune series of films.

    It’s best to start anew with a fresh vision that will hopefully have more in common with the book.

  10. I see Morel being capable of bringing the emotion and drama to “Dune.” However it doesn’t make sense to make it if you can’t get the entire story on the screen. Lynch’s “Dune” had the talent and the budget and Harrison’s version had the drama and emotion and almost the story just right. Six to seven hours seems to be the magic number to get the story on the screen. That probably means dividing the story into three parts, just as Harrison did. It would be nice to get artists of Chris Foss, Jean Giraud and H.R. Giger’s caliber on the film. It’s a pity Dan O’Bannon is gone. This old guard I dare say has little interest in putting in any time on a new “Dune,” save perhaps Giger. It would be foolish not to ask. I doubt however that will see any innovative work because the budget is just too modest.

    To me the hard part is casting. WANTED two young acting prodigies. That in itself is a tall order. Paul is suppose to be fifteen when the story begins. Alia hovering around four years old when the story ends. Then their’s all the characters around them. An ensemble cast of casts. Duncan the man with the round face with cave sitter eye the black curled goat hair, a body capable of feline like movement and swiftness of reflex. Halleck an ugly lump of a man with the inkvine scar on his jaw good with a knife or a baliset. The seamed and hunched over old man, whose personality was the archetype for the more famous MR. Spock, a mentat, a human computer, in service to the Atreides, Thufir Hawat. Then Their’s DR. Yeuh a classic hippie stick figure with a droopy mustache and a medical kit. If this sounds like a rip off of “Star Trek” you got it backwards. “Dune” was first serialized in Analog magazine from 1963-65. “Star Trek” didn’t hit the TV screen until 1966. Herbert had been researching for “Dune” since 1957! Given that situation I think its fitting the property ended up on Paramounts’ lot. Would Peter Jackson, Zack Snider, or Blomkamp been better? I think it’s largely been the marching orders that has made the most difference. One or three films.

  11. I’d like to see Dune directed again by David Lynch. I think he’s a great director. I think he did well the 1st time. As a director, having the insight and experience he has now, I’d like to see what He’d adapt, what he’d choose to do maybe just a little differently, and what he’d change all together. I think Ennio Morricone should be the production coordinator for all music, soundtrack, and film score elements to be incorporated, and I think he should compose an all new and completely original score for this new Dune. And lastly, I’d like to see the cinematography and artistic direction for this film done in the style of ‘Steam Punk’. Is that too much to ask?

  12. I’d rather prefer an animation based on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune. Or maybe J. J. Abrams should direct it…

  13. Blomkamp and Nolan directing together would make Dune unf***ing believably amazing

  14. Thankfully they are remaking Dune, the movie from 1984 was complete Cr@p.

  15. I just saw “‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’: The Greatest Film That Never Was” and am convinced that Alejandro Jodorowsky’s vision for Dune would have been the perfect cinematic rendering for Frank Herbert’s epic novel, Dune.

    Several things are certain, Hollywood got it’s hand on this material and ruined it. The David Lynch version had some great effects and moments, but lacked the rawness and horror that was in the text. David Lynch did not stay close enough to the storyline and to many critical elements were omitted. This book should as other have said been a three movie series which has the potential to make it more profitable as well. Jodorowsky himself battled with studio execs over shortening it and we later saw an attempt to do so fail in the Lynch version.

    Drawings, screenplay and other work from Jodorowsky’s monumental effort should be finally realized in an epic motion picture that is worthy of the book. The work of Chris Foss, Jean Giraud, H.R. Giger and Dan O’Bannon should be carried forward to its fruition. Where possible (Giger) they should be consulted on this film.

    As we’ve seen with Star Trek, great directors (witness Robert Wise) do not always quite “get” the spirit of a book or franchise. It is rare that you encounter someone with as great a love and passion for a project as Jodorowsky had. Perhaps he could even be coaxed into being a consultant for this film. What a coup that would be!