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…

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)