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Denis Villeneuve Opens Up About The Biggest Challenge Of Making Dune

Denis Villeneuve's upcoming "Dune" — based on the famous 1965 sci-fi novel of the same name by Frank Herbert — is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. Having just premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in September — to an eight-minute standing ovation no less — the film is finally making its way to US theaters (and HBO Max) on October 22 (via The Hollywood Reporter).

"Dune," set far into the future, follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), the heir of the noble House Atreides, as he and his family find themselves at war for the dangerous desert planet Arrakis — also referred to as Dune. According to the film's official press release, via Legendary Entertainment, Dune is "the only producer of a precious resource, [and] control of Arrakis is highly contested among the noble families" and eventually leads Paul and his family to be betrayed. The upcoming film, titled on-screen as "Dune: Part I," will cover roughly the first half of its source material.

Herbert's novel is widely considered one of the best and most influential sci-fi novels of all time. With its universally well-regarded reputation — not to mention the many, many sci-fi fans who adore the novel — there's naturally a lot of pressure that comes with adapting it for the screen. Villeneuve, who also co-wrote the screenplay alongside Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth, recently opened up about the biggest challenges he faced in making "Dune."

Villeneuve struggled to balance the film

In a recent interview with Cult MTL Magazine, Denis Villeneuve opened up about the challenges he faced in making a film based on such a beloved novel. After all, he read the book as a teen and declared it "stayed with [him] all these years." The director then opened up about finding a balance between making a film that would appease the devoted fans of the book, as well as newcomers to the story, who have no prior knowledge about the world of "Dune." Eventually, he decided to sway the film primarily in one of those directions.

Villeneuve said, "I approached this adaptation with the idea that no one watching the movie had read the book ... It was important to me, therefore, to transpose as much of the richness and complexity of the novel to the film without making neophytes feel like there was something missing. That was the biggest challenge, because I also wanted fans of the novel to find the ideas, the colours, the flavours and the feel of the novel in the film I had made."

The director concluded, "When you adapt a novel, there has to be a transformation. But the challenge is to find the balance between those two poles of the audience."