Zoe Saldana would like to add Dune to the collection of sci-fi franchises that she has a role in. Saldana is no stranger to sci-fi films, having now played Uhura in the rebooted Star Trek film franchise, Neytiri in James Cameron’s Avatar series and Gamora on the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At a press conference for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (where she reprises as Gamora), Saldana reaffirmed that she isn’t finished adding sci-fi genre properties to her resume just yet.
Dune is the best-selling sci-fi book series created by Frank Herbert, starting with his original novel of the same name (released in 1965). Its closest analogs in popular culture today would be George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. In 1984, visionary director David Lynch adapted the first novel in the series into a film starring Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen and Francesca Annis. However, Lynch’s movie was a critical and financial failure, due partly to the complex nature of Herbert’s story, but also as the result of studio meddling.
Despite its infamous Hollywood legacy, Zoe Saldana is excited that Dune is making a return to the big screen under the watchful eye of director Denis Villeneuve. When asked “You have mentioned the 3 sci-fi movie franchises you’re in. If you had to choose another one to do, which one would you choose?” at the aforementioned Guardians 2 press conference, Saldana responded:
Dune. I was Lady Jessica, and when I wasn’t a Bene Gesserit I was a ninja. So I would love to be in Dune. I’ve heard that Denis Villeneuve is thinking… he’s revisiting, and um, I hope he decides to do it because I’m one of those people that, I think David Lynch did a great job, but I was six when I saw Dune, so… so it would be Dune.
Villeneuve is an acclaimed filmmaker who is no stranger to the sci-fi genre. He is now best known to international audiences for his acclaimed and award-winning adaptation of the sci-fi novel Arrival and has the sequel Blade Runner 2049 arriving later this year. As of earlier this year, Villeneuve confirmed that he is going to direct a remake of Dune, referring to it as the “project of his life.”
Villeneuve will likely only be adapting the first Dune novel for the big screen, but will still have to contend with the complicated visual and textual translation of a literary sci-fi universe that was not designed with film in mind. That said, if you were going to pick a director for Dune, Villeneuve would probably be on the top of that list. And seeing as Dune is still in the early stages of development, it is possible that Saldana may yet be cast in the film. Considering her sci-fi creds, she probably would make an excellent Lady Jessica.
We will bring you more Dune-related news as it comes our way.