Is Dune Done?
11.10.10 by Ryan
It's been a bumpy road for Paramount's adaptation of Dune. The studio hired director Peter Berg to helm the project in 2008, planning a more "faithful" adaptation than the 1984 version that was directed by David Lynch. Berg praised Josh Zetumer's script, calling it a "massive epic" with "franchise potential," and then, a month later, promptly quit the project.
Taken director Pierre Morel then took over, announcing that he would do away with the script from Berg's era of production, opting instead to start over in what Morel hoped would be a 3-D adaptation. With the project seemingly progressing, the latest problem could postpone the movie indefinitely.
According to Deadline, Paramount is working against the clock to get Dune into production before the rights to the Frank Herbert novel are lost. The studio has a new screenplay for Dune courtesy of screenwriter Chase Palmer, which was written under Morel's supervision, but, like Berg before him, Morel has now stepped down from the project, staying on nominally as an executive producer. Paramount has until next spring to find a new director and establish a production start date or their option on the Dune rights will be rescinded.
Producer Richard P. Rubinstein told Deadline that, despite the actions of Paramount, he feels confident the project will move forward based on the strength of Palmer's screenplay.
We don’t want to extend an option and watch the studio take seven years. This is on a short tether. It's a major book franchise, you can’t walk into a store and not see a shelf full of Dune books.
While finding a new director and setting a start date seem like simple tasks given the rights deadline, Paramount is reportedly acting cautiously. The studio needs a director they feel can handle the movie's high budget and storyline. Despite the cult status of Lynch's Dune, the movie suffered from not being able to translate Herbert's complex storyline into a comprehensible form for anyone other than those that had read the novel. If Paramount can't make some decisions they feel confident about soon, Dune could be done.