Denis Villeneuve has tapped his frequent collaborator Joe Walker as the Dune editor. This marks the French-Canadian director’s fourth collaboration with Walker in a row, after they’ve worked together on Sicario, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049.
Dune has long been a passion project for Villeneuve, who co-wrote the script with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts. To pull together his vision of Frank Herbert’s dense sci-fi saga, Villeneuve is partnering up with a trusted collaborator: Blade Runner 2049 editor Joe Walker. Indiewire broke the news that Walker has been tapped to edit Dune, which starts shooting in Budapest in March for Legendary Pictures. The twice-Oscar nominated editor (for Arrival, 12 Years a Slave) told Indiewire:
“I was deeply familiar with ‘Arrival’ and ‘Blade Runner’ before they were made, sitting next to Denis in the cutting room when he formulated them, but, on this one, I’ve rather enjoyed being kept in the dark.”
Dune stars Timothée Chalamet as exiled nobleman Paul Atreides who leads a rebellion against the galactic emperor and an evil fallen noble family to regain control of the eponymous desert planet and its most valuable resource, a mind-enhancing “spice.” Rebecca Ferguson co-stars as his mother, with Dave Bautista as his violent rival, and Stellan Skarsgard as the villainous Baron Harkonnen.
Herbert’s massive, complex sci-fi saga is famously difficult to adapt, with David Lynch trying and failing in 1984 with the feature film starring Kyle MacLachlan. However, Walker believes that Villeneuve is well-suited to adapting the rich and complex universe of Dune. “For me, there’s great synaptic pleasure working within [Villeneuve’s] worlds,” Walker said, recalling how Villeneuve has been drawn to Dune since childhood:
“The one thing he said to me was that it’s almost like an aficionado writing it. It’s not necessarily a super-polished piece of fiction, but it taps into two things that are fascinating: oil and religion.”
Walker mused rebooting the classic sci-fi story as a compelling Middle East allegory, adding “What’s tantalizing about it is there’s a wealth of material there. Having to encounter other cultures and create stability out of unrest.”
Villeneuve has described his version as “Star Wars for adults.” He and director of photography Greig Fraser (Vice, Lion) are considering splitting his film into two parts as well, though that won’t make its scale any less grand. “The word epic is overused, but it has that quality,” said Walker.
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