We are only a few weeks away from finally getting a chance to see Denis Villeneuve’s Dune in all its glory. The story has been viewed by many as “unfilmable” and there are a couple of less than successful attempts that have helped to prove that point. This new film might finally be the movie that makes it work. And if it is, it may be because of Villeneuve’s focus on the women of Dune.
Dune is a massive story full of characters and worlds and politics. There's a ton of material to cover, which may be why making a film version is so hard. There’s just a lot to cover. Denis Villeneuve recently explained to Empire that he made a decision early on that his Dune would focus more on the women of the story, by telling the screenwriter to concentrate his efforts there. He explained...
Denis Villeneuve has previously spoken about the fact that Rebecca Ferguson’s Lady Jessica would have a much bigger and more important role in Dune. Here the director explains a bit more exactly why that is.
It comes down to the fact that, by virtue of giving birth to Paul, she’s the reason the events of the story ultimately happen. The expectation in the story is that Jessica will have a daughter, and the fact that she has a son is a big deal.
When you have a story as big as Dune you have little choice but to make decisions about what you include and what you don’t. Some elements of the Frank Herbert novel will almost certainly be missing entirely. Others will be less important than perhaps they were in the book.
And the topic of femininity and power will likely be a strong through line not just in this movie but in the next one if and when it gets made. While it’s unclear how big a role Zendaya will have in this movie, we know she’ll be a big part of the next one, and her character’s influence on Timothee Chalamet’s Paul is equally important to his journey as his mother’s. Dune hits theaters and HBO Max on October 22.
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