Denis Villeneuve says he’s sprinting to finish Dune on time
Last month, it was confirmed that Denis Villeneuve’s highly-anticipated remake of Dune is scheduled to go back into production this month for its reshoots and additional footage. Now, in a recent interview with the Shanghai International Film Festival (via IndieWire), the Oscar-nominated director has finally addressed the impact of the ongoing pandemic on the film’s production and post-production. Check out the full interview video below!
Villeneuve revealed that before the pandemic, he had a lot of time to spare in order to finish the movie in the way he had intended to. However, when his planned schedule got suddenly ruined, he is now rushing to finish the star-studded remake just in time for its December release.
“We were about to finish some shooting… the movie was like almost finished,” He explained. “Dune has been made in an unusual way which is that we made the main shooting, and then I edited that part of the movie and I was planning to go back to shoot some elements later because I wanted to readjust the movie – I needed time, and it’s a luxury that I had [before the pandemic]… When the virus hit North America as we were about to go back to do those elements.”
“The impact was that it crushed my schedule right now. It will be a sprint to finish the movie on time right now. We were allowed to go back to shoot – we’re going back to shoot those elements in a few weeks, [the ones] we were supposed to shoot earlier. It meant that I also had to finish some elements of the movie like VFX and the editing being in Montreal as my crew stayed in Los Angeles.”
In addition, Villeneuve has also expressed his frustration about the challenges of not being able to work in the same room with his long-time editor Joe Walker, who has been working with him since 2015’s Sicario. “I will say as a director there are things that can be done remotely to deal with technology, all the supervision of VFX with some equipment is kind of easy to do from afar… for me the big lesson of this is I thought that it would be possible to edit at a distance having my editor [Joe Walker] sharing with computers, being far from one another, but I realize how much editing is like playing music with someone and you need to be in the same room. I mean there’s something about the interaction, human interaction, spontaneity, the energy in the room. I really miss not being in the same room with my editor.”
He continued, “I’m saying, as an artist, to edit my movie not being in the same room as my editor is very, very painful. Also maybe one of the reasons is the editor is also a psychiatrist – I mean he’s the one who’s dealing with my anxiety and my panic attacks and my fears and receiving my joys. I think that in the future, if ever something like that happened again, definitely I will make sure that my editor is close to me. Editing is a very important part of the filmmaking process for me, maybe the most important. It’s the time where you rewrite the movie in some ways.”
The star-studded cast includes Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible — Fallout) and Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) in leading roles. The film will also feature Zendaya (Spider-Man: Far From Home) Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men), Stellan Skarsgard (Thor: The Dark World), Charlotte Rampling (The Night Porter) and Josh Brolin (Avengers: Endgame).
Villeneuve is best known for directing Blade Runner 2049 as well as Sicario. Though Dune will likely resemble the former film more than the latter, both display the sort of experience directing arid, desolate locales that a fan would want in their Dune director, considering a sizable chunk of the story takes place on a desert planet.
Dune is currently set to be released in theaters on December 18, 2020.