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'Dune' Is Dead At Paramount

by Kevin Jagernauth
March 22, 2011 9:12 AM
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Last we heard, the writing was on the wall for "Dune." It was last November that it was reported that Paramount was given a deadline of this spring (read: now) to get a film into production or risk losing the rights to the film and with nothing having happened since, it's no surprise to now hear the project is dead at the studio.

Deadline reports that the option has expired and now the film is back in the hands of Richard P. Rubinstein, who controls the rights. And it looks like he's going to back to square one with the project; but for kicks, let's go over a brief history thus far.

Director Peter Berg was once attached, but he couldn’t mount two hefty tentpoles at once, at least not under Paramount’s time frame so he left for Universal‘s Mattel board game adaptation of “Battleship." When Berg jumped ship, hot helmer of the moment (or that moment, anyhow) B-thriller director Pierre Morel, riding high off the surprise smash success of "Taken" signed onto the job. But perhaps sensing that things weren't going to work out, he left the film as well to take on the Sam Raimi-produced alien invasion flick "Earth Defense Force."

“I’m going to look at my options, and whether I wind up taking the script we developed in turnaround, or start over, I’m not sure yet,” Rubinstein said adding that, “Right now, 'Dune' has no commitments or attachments.” However, Rubinstein and producer Kevin Misher liked the direction Morel and screenwriter Chase Palmer had taken with the film and they plan to re-approach them for the film. But the big problem to solve first, will be finding someone to foot the $100 million price tag for the project.

So, Frank Herbert fans will have to wait. But there's always the David Lynch version.....right?

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  • Juan | March 23, 2011 3:34 AMReply

    Thanks to Lynch I became a huge fan of Frank Herbert, even when it wasn't a perfect film, the vision of the writer and the future great director made a movie full of poetry in almost every scene

    It's not easy to find a truly good director who knows well the science fiction, maybe the best choice could be try with Ridley Scott or a drama film maker; excuseme if what I write could be stupid but sometimes a think, even Hayao Miyazaki could make a animated version (considering his masterpiece Nausicaa) since there are not many real artists who can honor the work of Herbert.
    Specially after the horrible try made by John Harrison years ago

  • Piotr | March 23, 2011 2:07 AMReply

    It gives my heart so much joy for reading that others appreciate film of David Lynch as much as I make. The film is not perfect, but is to him a very ambitious science fiction film, very honourably made, very with the noble heart.

  • Daniel | March 22, 2011 12:00 PMReply

    Agreed; Lynch's film is unfairly beat on, even by Lynch himself. The last 3rd of the script falls apart, but it really is a science fiction film unlike any other -- the mood is dreamy, detailed, absolutely unique, the designs are amazing, and the performances are truly Lynchian in their stylization.

    That said, I'm sad that they're having trouble getting this thing off the ground. Dune, given the proper treatment, could be extraordinarily relevant today, as the book itself is a roman a clef about the Middle East and oil. A story about an arab uprising could not be more timely.

    Which is why I'm puzzled as to Pierre Morel's interest in it -- his previous films, to put it generously, have not had the highest regard for Muslims. Making a film where a white kid joins a bunch of jihadis against the west seems a little opposed to his beliefs.

  • Mark | March 22, 2011 9:39 AMReply

    I'll happily stick with Lynch's version. The TV movie made a few years ago proved that unless you hire an artist to make Dune then the whole thing will come across like a bad episode of Star Trek. Lynch's Dune is full of amazing visuals, incredible production design, Brian Eno's haunting 'Prophecy' theme, the mind-bending Water of Life sequence in the desert... Peter Berg and Pierre Morel had no chance of topping Lynch. I'd much rather see a proper 3 hour reconstituted version of Lynch's Dune than an attempt to remake it by the hacks of today.

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