Frank Herbert's Dune is a series of fantasy sci-fi political drama novels. It is considered to be one of the "holy grails'' of 20th-century science fiction by those passionate about the genre, respected for its originality, complex and relatable characters, and attention to detail. The general public caused the buzz after it was delayed, but ultimately successful movie release in September was very much expected.
The movie, fittingly titled Dune, follows the events of the first novel. Among some of the Dune movie facts are that it was directed by a well-respected Denis Villeneuve and featured a star-filled cast. Everyone we love was in Dune - from young stars like Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya to familiar favorites like Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa.
Despite what you might have seen in the movie theatre, though, many details about the production can go unnoticed. Below, you can take a look at 7 Dune facts you didn't know about. Take a look at every detail, from the behind-the-scenes of its production filled with problems to director Denis Villeneuve's influence that made the movie the success it is today.
There's Another Dune Movie?
Denis Villeneuve is not the first director to tackle the task of adapting Herbert's novel as a movie. Long-standing Dune enthusiasts are also familiar with a 1984 version of the film directed by David Lynch.
The main difference from the 1984 movie is that Villeneuve's Dune does not cover the whole of the first novel. Instead, it ends at the halfway point of the story, leaving the second half for the 2023 sequel already in the works. Lynch's version, on the other hand, follows all the events of the first novel, cramming all the action of a 400-page book into a two-hour and a seventeen-minute movie - something it is often criticized for.
There are a lot of stylistic differences between the two versions, too. Villeneuve's version is more focused on the development of individual characters, diving deep into their traits and building them up with intricate dialogues and backstories. Lynch's Dune is more concentrated on the bigger picture. It tries to convey as much information from the already complex novel as possible, faced with limitations of its time when it comes to computer graphics and costume design.
These and many more subtle differences between the two movies are among the most impressive Dune facts, just like it would be the case for another franchise remake. While, according to the critics, the old version is worse, it has become a cult classic that is definitely worth watching.
A Charming Chalamet
Denis Villeneuve actually wanted Timothee Chalamet to play the leading role of Paul Atreides in the movie. That is why he specifically offered him the role without hosting a casting for the lead. The director's praise of Chalamet is not unknown. Villeneuve has stated many times that he was fascinated by the young star's talent and work ethic and hopes to work with him again in the future.
As for Chalamet, well, 2021 has been a pretty busy year for a charming 25-year-old. Aside from taking the leading role in Dune this year, he also stars in Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch and Adam McKay's Don't Look Up, surrounded by a plethora of fan-favorite actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep to name a few. It is interesting to see just how much experience Chalamet has gained from working with these famous directors and actors.
As for Dune, you can still see his superb acting range throughout the movie. How Chalamet managed to find time for all these other ambitious projects, while also a fantastic performance Villeneuve loved, is one of the most impressive Dune movie facts.
Dreams Do Come True
One of the Dune movie facts you might not know about is that directing Herbert's famous novel was a lifelong dream of Villeneuve. He has openly talked about it in his interviews. According to the director, he wanted to shoot a movie based on Dune since he was 14 after he had read the novel.
His dream finally came true in 2017, when he was approached by Legendary Entertainment to direct the film. It was unsurprising that Villeneuve immediately agreed. After being well-established as a successful science fiction director with Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve was just a perfect candidate for an ambitious project such as Dune.
All in all, Villeneuve's undying passion for the franchise can be considered one of the most interesting Dune movie facts.
Another one of Dune movie facts is that Villeneuve was not the only one who wanted to work on the franchise for a long time. In fact, the Oscar-winning score composer Hans Zimmer, who composed the score for Dune, was thrilled to work on the movie, too - all because he loved the novels just as much as Villeneuve.
Zimmer had worked with Villeneuve before for Blade Runner 2049, so the two had been friends before the production on Dune had started. In fact, instead of working with Christopher Nolan on Tenet - on a project with a director Zimmer has worked with a lot of times - he chose to write the score for Villeneuve's movie just because of his love for the novel.
Ultimately, Zimmer did what he does best - wrote an incredible soundtrack for an equally terrific movie. His dedication, which, in addition to declining to work with Nolan, also included coming up with new instrument sounds so that it would fit the alien world of Arrakis, remains as one of the most interesting behind-the-scenes Dune facts.
A Production Like No Other
Denis Villeneuve is known for his commitment to making science fiction movies feel as natural as possible, using as little CGI as possible.
One of the most unusual Dune movie facts is that the production included traveling to different locations and building massive sets to make it all seem authentic during its almost two-year filming period. For example, the desert shots in the movie were all shot in real locations like Jordan, making the actors (and the crew!) work in extreme heats to capture the problematic conditions on Herbert's imaginary Arrakis. As for the indoor shots, most sets were explicitly constructed to make the movie feel real and natural, including everything from small rooms to massive castle halls.
The movie's already lengthy and demanding production was also accompanied by the COVID outbreak, forcing the producers to delay the film's release by about a year. Despite the production being a long and challenging process, the details and commitment that went into it gave us not only one of the biggest movies of the year but also one of the most amazing Dune movie facts.
At its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, the movie received a seven-minute standing ovation. In addition to this, the critics' consensus was primarily positive, with the movie having an 82% score on the popular website Rottentomatoes.
However, one of the most surprising Dune movie facts is that a portion of the audience disliked it a lot. Some people claimed that the movie was too long to the point that it got boring. Others could not understand many of the complicated details that come with the franchise, leaving them ultimately disappointed with Dune.
However, most people actually liked the movie very much, especially those who had read the novels before and went into the theatres with the right mindset. Yes, the film does last for two and a half hours, but if you follow the descriptions of different details carefully, it is a nice watch. All in all, its intricate world-building is one of the most thrilling Dune facts. Even though it can be a lot at times, a dedicated moviegoer invested in their movies will have an undeniably unforgettable experience.
One of the most overlooked Dune movie facts is that director Denis Villeneuve wanted to add more women in his version of the movie. He believed that the novels lacked interesting female characters. He is, to some extent, correct. That is why one of the most interesting Dune movie facts is that one of the characters from the novel - Dr. Kynes, was utterly changed.
Dr. Kynes plays a significant part in the novel, being a native of Arrakis that provides the main characters (and the audiences) with a lot of knowledge and insight. In the novels, Kynes is a white male. Villeneuve, however, altered the character and made it a black female while keeping all her important character traits intact.
With Dr. Kynes being just one example, and with the second part of the movie already announced for 2023, it is interesting to see what Villeneuve will change next and whether or not he will increase the role of women in the movie even more. Until then, it will remain as one of the most interesting Dune facts.
So, can you think of any other behind-the-scenes Dune movie facts?