Dune Director Sprinting to Finish Film in Time for Release Date

Though virtually all blockbusters between March and now have been delayed to the ongoing global pandemic, Denis Villeneuve's Dune is still set for release in December — even though the director is struggling with getting the final cut out the door. As Villeneuve says in a recent interview (via IndieWire,) he's been stuck in Montreal during the quarantine while the rest of the editor's room is based in Los Angeles. As you might expect, that's posed significant challenges in getting the movie completed.

“I was planning to go back and shoot some elements later because I wanted to readjust the movie. I needed time. At the time I didn’t know that it would be a pandemic…as we were about to go back to do those elements,” Villeneuve says in a video promoting the Shanghai International Film Festival. “The impact was that it crushed my schedule right now. It will be a sprint to finish the movie on time right now, because we were allowed to go back to shoot those elements in a few weeks…it meant also that I have to finish some elements of the movie, like VFX and the editing, being in Montreal as my crew stayed in Los Angeles.”

In the same interview, the Sicaro and Blade Runner 2049 helmer adds the visual effects are the easiest part of being distanced from his crew. Rather, Villeneuve says, it's the editing of the film that's difficult without being on the studio lot in-person.

“As a director there are things that can be done remotely to deal with technology. The supervision of VFX with some equipment is easy to do from afar but, editing, for me, the big lesson from this is I thought it would be possible to edit at a distance,” he adds. “With my editor [Joe Walker] sharing equipment, being afar from the [one another], but I realize how much editing is like playing music with someone and you need to be in the same room. There’s something about the interaction, human interaction, the spontaneity, the energy in the room. I really miss not being in the same room as my editor….it’s very, very painful.”

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The Dune reboot, which is expected to be the first of a new franchise for Legendary and Warner Brothers, stars an ensemble cast that includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem.

Dune is currently set for release on December 18th.