Dune's Spice Won't Flow at Paramount
03.24.11 by Ryan
After four years, several directors and scripts, Paramount is no longer in the Dune business.
Director Peter Berg signed on for Paramount's adaptation in 2008, promising a more "faithful" adaptation than David Lynch's 1984 version with Josh Zetumer's script. Berg left the project in 2009, with Pierre Morel (Taken) brought on board to direct in January of 2010. Morel scrapped Zetumer's script in favor of one written by Chase Palmer, but last November Morel stepped down from the director's chair, leaving Paramount until this spring to find a replacement or they would lose their option on the Dune rights. Unfortunately, the time for Paramount to find a worthy director for the movie's budget and complex storyline has passed.
Deadline reports that Paramount and the rights-holders for the sci-fi novel series by Frank Herbert have come to a "parting of the ways." Producer Richard P. Rubinstein, who controls the rights, explained what happened.
Paramount’s option has expired and we couldn’t reach an agreement. I’m going to look at my options, and whether I wind up taking the script we developed in turnaround, or start over, I’m not sure yet.
If Dune goes into "turnaround," then Rubinstein could find another studio or financier to produce the Palmer screenplay and the $100 million budget that it requires. The process could take time, but the timetable is not a concern for Rubinstein.
Sure, it’s frustrating, how long this has taken, but most of what I’ve done that worked out well over the years, like the miniseries The Stand, took a long time. Since I know what I want, eventually, I’ll find someone who’ll agree with me. What I like is that talent has interesting things to say on how they would approach it.
Herbert's complicated sci-fi story concerns the battle for control of a desert planet that contained a supply of Melange, a spice that is the most valuable substance in the universe. Reportedly, Palmer's script managed to condense the complicated story into a feature-length story. Rubinstein said that he and co-producer Kevin Misher might reach out again to Morel and Palmer, but that nothing has transpired yet.
"Right now, Dune has no commitments or attachments," said Rubinstein, which means that now anyone could step in to make Dune and no one could step in as well.