The filmmaker won’t be watching Denis Villeneuve’s remake because of the ‘total failure’ of his own adaptation
David Lynch isn’t a man to mince his words. The filmmaker has revealed that he has “zero interest” in watching the upcoming Dune film because of the “total failure” of his own 1984 adaptation.
The highly-anticipated remake of Frank Herbet’s 1965 sci-fi novel has Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve at the helm, and stars Timothée Chalamet as a young royal Paul Atreides.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Lynch said he won’t watch Villeneuve’s version because his was “a heartache” for him. “It was a failure and I didn’t have a final cut,” he explained. “I’ve told this story a billion times. It’s not the film I wanted to make. I like certain parts of it very much – but it was a total failure for me.”
Lynch’s Dune, which starred Kyle MacLachlan as Atreides, was a box office failure, grossing just $30.9 million (£25 million) from a $40 million (£32 million) budget. The filmmaker disowned the film upon its release after reviews criticised the screenwriting, lack of faith to the source material, as well as the pacing, direction, and editing. Lynch said pressure from producers and financiers restrained his artistic control.
Lynch wasn’t the first director to struggle with Dune. Attempts to adapt it began in 1971, with Arthur P. Jacobs, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Ridley Scott all failing to bring their versions to screen. Villeneuve has also discussed his difficulties with the film, and has split his adaptation into two parts, describing Dune’s world as “too complex” to fit into one feature. “It’s a book that tackles politics, religion, ecology, spirituality – and with a lot of characters,” the director told Vanity Fair. “I think that’s why it’s so difficult. Honestly, it’s by far the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life.”
Unlike Lynch, MacLachlan is “very excited” to see the forthcoming remake. Speaking to IMDb, the actor said: “Timothée I think will do a fantastic job. I’m very much looking forward to the vision Denis has. David Lynch, of course, it’s a very specific vision, so this will be something completely different, I’m sure. Why not have both stand on their own merits?”
Speaking about his character, Chalamet told Vanity Fair: “The immediately appealing thing about Paul was the fact that in a story of such detail and scale and world-building, the protagonist is on an anti-hero’s-journey of sorts.”
Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a young nobleman in a feudal society set in a faraway future, where families face off over a powerful ‘spice’ – a drug that can extend human life and provide superhuman levels of thought. Villeneuve’s adaptation stars Rebecca Ferguson as Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica, as well as Oscar Isaac as the Duke and steward of the planet Arrakis, and Zendaya as Chani, who develops a relationship with Paul.
Dune will be released on December 18. Watch a clip from Lynch’s 1984 version below.