Dune Director Spent a Whole Year Making Sure He Got This One Thing Right

The director of Dune took a year to make sure he did justice Arrakis's signature creatures, the sandworms. The film features compelling characters played by Timothee Chalamet, Josh Brolin, and other stars. None or more recognizable than the Shai-Hulud. They are both deadly and essential to the ecosystem of Arrakis and the narrative of Dune. Denis Villeneuve tells Empire Magazine about how much care went into designing the sandworms for his version of Dune. "We talked about every little detail that would make such a beast possible, from the texture of the skin, to the way the mouth opens, to the system to eat its food in the sand," he says. "It was a year of work to design and to find the perfect shape that looked prehistoric enough."

Dune is Villeneuve's adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal sci-fi novel of the same name. The film sees Paul Atreides journeying with his family and house to the desert planet of Arrakis. “Paul has been raised in a very strict environment with a lot of training, because he's the son of a Duke and one day... he's training to be the Duke,” Villeneuve tells the magazine. “But as much as he's been prepared and trained for that role, is it really what he dreams to be? That's the contradiction of that character. It's like Michael Corleone in The Godfather – it's someone that has a very tragic fate and he will become something that he was not wishing to become.”

Paul's arrival on Arrakis sets on a different path. It awakens a power within him and sets him on a journey towards becoming a reluctant messiah. “The immediately appealing thing about Paul was the fact that in a story of such detail and scale and world-building, the protagonist is on an anti-hero’s-journey of sorts,” Chalamet said in another interview. “He thinks he’s going to be sort of a young general studying his father and his leadership of a fighting force before he comes of age, hopefully a decade later, or something like that.”

Warner Bros. Pictures describes the film as, "A mythic and emotionally charged hero's journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet's exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity's greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive."

Dune is set to open in theaters on December 18th.

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