The Hollywood film ‘Dune’ brings a star-studded cast to Venice
Venice: The world premiere of “Dune,” one of the most eagerly anticipated sci-fi blockbusters in years, was set to take place on Friday at the Venice Film Festival.
Journalists and industry insiders were ordered to turn in their phones to prevent any footage from the screenings from leaking out.
Meanwhile, fans braced themselves for a slew of celebrities, including Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, and Javier Bardem, to descend on Venice’s glitzy Lido island.
With a $165 million budget and a critically acclaimed director in Canadian Denis Villeneuve, hopes are high that the film will be able to break the curse that has been attached to previous attempts to adapt the seminal 1960s novel.
With hits like “Sicario” and “Arrival,” Villeneuve has joined Christopher Nolan as one of the few directors who can deliver deadly serious cinema while also enticing audiences.
He’s also proven his worth to sci-fi fans with “Blade Runner 2049,” a critically acclaimed sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic.
The build-up hasn’t been easy, with the release being delayed by nearly a year due to the pandemic.
Villeneuve has also clashed with Warner Bros. over the decision to release the film simultaneously in theatres and on streaming platforms.
“Dune,” set many millennia in the future, follows tribal battles for control of “spice,” a drug that extends life and grants prophetic powers, on the inhospitable planet of Arrakis, which is also infested with giant worms.
“Dune,” the brainchild of author Frank Herbert, was first published in 1965 and went on to become a six-volume space opera that had a massive influence, not least on “Star Wars.”
“It is the biggest-selling and most-read science fiction novel ever, but also the most commented upon and the most studied,” said Renaud Guillemin, a prominent member of France’s “Duniens” community.
“It was the prototype for the sort of world-building universe in science fiction books, with their own coherence, references, and foundations,” Guillemain said, comparing it to what “The Lord of the Rings” did for fantasy.
Some of the images and ideas, such as its giant sandworms (hello, “Tremors”), sweat-recycling suits, and the Bene Gesserit, an order of female martial arts experts with thought-control powers, have also become sci-fi staples.
Fans also praise its foresight, which anticipates debates about global warming and the impact of technology.
Despite its ready-made audience and obvious cinematic potential, previous film adaptations have been notoriously difficult.
In the 1980s, horror director David Lynch attempted it, but it was a costly and disastrous failure.
After four years of work, cult Franco-Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s previous attempt fell through.
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