Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Won’t Feel Like A Studio-Made Film, According To Stellan Skarsgard

Stellan Skarsgard in Thor: The Dark World

Too often there have been instances of studios interfering with the making of a Hollywood production, resulting in the final product coming off as generic at best, mediocre at worst. Stellan Skarsgård, one of the stars of the upcoming Dune, believes this won’t be a fate that befalls Denis Villeneuve’s take on the classic Frank Herbert novel, as from what he’s seen, Villeneuve is being given plenty of freedom. In Skarsgård’s words:

I’ve always wanted to work with him partly because he’s such a wonderful man, but also because he’s a brilliant director. It’s fun when you get one of those big sci-fi movies and you know it’s going to be directed by a true filmmaker. It’s not going to be directed by the studio. It seemed like they were giving him pretty free hands. And you have to, because his personal stamp on the film is paramount for the success of it.

Dune began principal photography back in March and finished rolling cameras in July, though with a long post-production process and reshoots potentially being scheduled, it’s possible the studio, Warner Bros, might take a more active hand later on in the creative process. But for now, per Stellan Skarsgård’s comments to Collider, Dune fans needn’t worry about any interference on Denis Villeneuve’s latest directorial endeavor, as in addition to being a faithful adaptation to the original Dune book, it’ll also has his personal stamp on the material.

Denis Villeneuve already has some experience in the science fiction realm through Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, and after saying in 2015 that it was a “longstanding dream” of his to adapt Dune, he officially signed on to the movie in early 2017. Rather than adapt all of Dune into one movie like the David Lynch cinematic adaptation (which was critically maligned, but has gone on to become a cult classic), Villeneuve’s Dune will cover roughly the first half of the book, with the second half being covered in a sequel if the first movie does well.

Of course, anyone familiar with Dune knows there’s a lot more stories to be adapted beyond the one that started it all in 1965. So if Dune does launch a full-blown film franchise, it’ll be interesting to see if Denis Villeneuve sticks around or if he passes the creative reins to someone else. Villeneuve will also direct the pilot for the HBO Max spinoff series Dune: The Sisterhood.

Stellan Skarsgård is playing Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the primary antagonist who seizes control of the planet Arrakis, the only source of the valued, mind-altering substance spice, from the Atreides family. Skarsgård is part of an ensemble that includes Timothée Hal Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem and David Dastmalchian, among others.

Dune opens in theaters on December 18, 2020, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage on how it’s coming along. You can also find out what else is coming out next year in our 2020 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.