Denis Villeneuve’s Dune reboot finds a writer

Legendary signs up veteran screenwriter to tackle the Dune reboot

Just in case you’d forgotten that Arrival and Sicario director Denis Villeneuve had signed on to direct a new take on Frank Herbert’s classic Dune, a writer has now been found to wrestle the source material into film form.

Variety reports that veteran screenwriter Eric Roth has signed on to take on the challenge for Legendary Pictures. Roth’s CV includes such weighty fare as Forrest Gump, The Insider, Munich, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Ali, Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, The Horse Whisperer and The Good Shepherd. In genre, he wrote the script for Kevin Costner’s notorious (but not actually terrible) The Postman and he was an uncredited contributor to the script for 1981 New York werewolf classic Wolfen.

All that experience will come in handy when it comes to Dune, which is not the easiest book to adapt for cinema. David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation is still a fascinatingly unwatchable experience, offering fragments of wonder but remaining an unquestionable failure.

However, we have high hopes for this new vision, largely because of Villeneuve. The director has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, with Incendies, Enemy, Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival showing a filmmaker with great confidence, skill and versatility. Still, he’ll be coming under some pretty intense scrutiny this year when Blade Runner 2049 hits cinemas. That’s a big one.

“Set in the distant future, Dune follows Paul Atreides, whose family assumes control of the desert planet Arrakis. As the only producer of a highly valuable resource, jurisdiction over Arrakis is contested among competing noble families. After Paul and his family are betrayed, the story explores themes of politics, religion, and man’s relationship to nature, as Paul leads a rebellion to restore his family’s reign.”

Dune does not currently have a release date. Blade Runner 2049 is released on 6 October. Keep up with the latest genre news with the new issue of SciFiNow.