dune tone

Denis Villeneuve has described his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel Dune as “Star Wars for adults,” and it sounds like he’s taking the “adult” part of that description seriously. The latest actor in Villeneuve’s very attractive cast to chime in is Oscar Isaac, who teased the filmmaker’s dark and “shocking” vision for Dune. The Dune tone will be “nightmarish” and “brutalist,” according to Isaac, teasing a film that is radically different from past adaptations of Herbert’s dense 1965 novel.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Isaac teased Villeneuve’s “wholly different” take on Dune compared to previous adaptations of the Frank Herbert novel:

“I couldn’t imagine anyone more suited for the tone of the original Frank Herbert novels than Denis. There are some things that are — for lack of a better word — nightmarish about what you see… There’s just this kind of brutalist element to it. It’s shocking. It’s scary. It’s very visceral. And I know that definitely between Denis and myself and Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson as the family unit, we really searched for the emotion of it. I’m beyond myself with excitement. I think it’s good to feel cool, unique, and special.”

The most famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) adaptation of Dune was David Lynch’s 1984 film, which tried valiantly to bring to life Herbert’s dense sci-fi saga but ended up a baffling camp-horror disaster. The fault with Lynch’s Dune, however, wasn’t from a lack of faith to the novel but the inability to translate Herbert’s notoriously dense and complicated story to a visual medium. In 2000, Syfy produced a three-part science fiction television miniseries that was more loyal to the novel, but its dodgy production value and wooden acting couldn’t quite do justice to Dune.

With his stellar record of cerebral sci-fi films and a cast that can’t stop gushing over his vision, Villeneuve seems like the right person for the job of giving Dune the adaptation it deserves. He’s certainly assembled a talented enough cast to lead his film, which in addition to Isaac includes Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh BrolinStellan SkarsgårdDave BautistaZendayaDavid DastmalchianStephen HendersonCharlotte RamplingJason Momoa, and Javier Bardem.

Dune is set to hit theaters November 20, 2020.

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