Dune to be rushed to the cinema?
We've been hearing about the possibility of a new Dune film for some time, but so far the only two adaptations of the epic Frank Herbert novel have been the three part mini-series from John Harrison and the feature film from David Lynch, the much argued about film.
However with the Herbert estate and ABC, the two companies who own the rights to Dune, are getting impatient and look set not to renew Paramount's option on the property, and that means if a film hasn't moved into production by next spring, Dune will be going to another studio for another long development process no doubt.
It's a difficult situation because the development of films can take a long time, especially films that will undoubtedly command a big budget. Studios have to be more careful to ensure that the film gets made the right way, i.e. to attract the most revenue so they can recoup their investment and then make a worthwhile profit.
However that said, you have to wonder how the ABC mini-series of Dune got made so quickly in comparison and was so widely liked. The concern over the film version isn't just the budget, it's the previous Dune film which has largely been considered a failure and, in parts, is ridiculed.
Except none of the books are considered such a failure, even novels written by Frank Herbert's sons hit the best-sellers lists and as I said already the mini-series was a success. Is it really just down to a studio scared of the budget and the only film outing some twenty six years ago?
I don't think so. I think it's down to individuals who don't want to take such a chance on directing a film that might well become a huge albatross around their neck, and certainly won't be easy to get made. The mini-series was a success because it lent almost five hours of screen time to the story, a single film will have to cut that down by half, that's a big cut and a lot of responsibility to make it work and see it accepted as a success.
So far we've seen Peter Berg wrote a script with Josh Zetumer that he was going to direct, but then decided to direct a film about the board game Battleship instead, now that's a shocking decision and a very telling one if you ask me, especially since they worked on the script for some time.
Then Chase Palmer rewrote the script with Pierre Morel, the director of Taken (Filmstalker review), who has since left the project according to the story in Deadline Hollywood Daily. Perhaps his turn to help develop the script made him realise how epic the task ahead was.
Now there's a void, and the story tells us that the Herbert estate and the studio have to agree on the director, no mean feat itself, and they have until next spring at which point the rights holders will move on, apparently they don't want to extend the option and wait seven years for a film. From the sounds of it they want the project made into a film quickly, and yet I just can't see how that will work.
There's a huge problem here and no one seems to be right. The studio obviously are taking too long to get the film made, perhaps they're not injecting enough into the budget, maybe they don't have the foresight or conviction, maybe the rights holders can't agree with them about the way forward. Whatever it is they are taking too long to get it made.
Yet the rights holders aren't doing their project any favours. Forcing the creative process because they want to see something tangible is going to end up with a half hearted film which does a fraction of the business that a properly made film could.
Will they force this forward and see it made all too hastily either at Paramount or elsewhere next year?