Frank Herbert's beloved 1965 science-fiction novel "Dune" may finally be getting the movie treatment it deserves with the Dec. 18 release of a new film directed by Denis Villeneuve ("Arrival," "Blade Runner 2049," "Sicario").
Rising star Timothée Chalamet ("Call Me By Your Name," "Lady Bird") makes his move into mainstream movies as the novel's hero Paul Atreides. The film's stellar cast features veterans of some of the greatest sci-fi and action movies of our time. Oscar Isaac ("Star Wars"), Rebecca Ferguson ("Mission Impossible"), Zendaya ("Spider-Man"), Jason Momoa ("Aquaman"), Josh Brolin ("Avengers"), Dave Bautista ("Guardians of the Galaxy"), Stellan Skarsgård ("Avengers"), David Dastmalchian ("Ant-Man"), Charlotte Rampling ("Red Sparrow") and Javier Bardem ("Skyfall") all have substantial roles in "Dune."
Warner Bros. Pictures just released a full trailer for the movie.
Paul Atreides lives with his family on the desolate planet Arrakis. His father, Duke Leto Atreides, oversees the supply of melange (aka "the spice"), a drug that sharpens the mind, extends human life and creates the mental state necessary for space travel. Arrakis is the only source for what has become the most valuable substance in the universe.
"Dune" is yet another twist on the theme of "the Chosen One" and the journey to manhood of a boy whose skills make him the only one who can save intelligent life. Paul must grow up and become both a ruler and great military leader to fulfill his destiny.
Herbert's fans will tell you that it's the universe and characters he created that make the books so compelling. His influence looms large over modern science fiction and movies, and it's easy to spot "Dune's" influence on "Star Wars," the Marvel Cinematic Universe and (especially) "Game of Thrones."
Herbert served with the Seabees during World War II and struggled to make a living as a writer in the decades following the war. "Dune" was a critical success upon publication in 1965, but it didn't really become a phenomenon until the next decade, blossoming into one of the defining fantasy series of the era, perhaps second only to J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" series. Herbert wrote five sequels before he died in 1986. Frank's son Brian has continued the story with several prequel and sequel novels published in the 21st century.
Herbert lived to see a 1984 movie of "Dune," directed by David Lynch and starring Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides. It was both a commercial and critical flop, and Lynch never again tried to make a mainstream Hollywood movie. The director and MacLachlan went on to great success as a team with "Blue Velvet" and "Twin Peaks," but "Dune" has been forced to wait almost four decades for another shot at cinema glory.
Villeneuve, nominated for a Best Director Oscar for "Arrival," managed to make a coherent and worthy sequel to "Blade Runner." He also showed a great talent for combat action in the DEA drug thriller "Sicario."
At Villeneuve's insistence, "Dune" the novel will be split into two movies, so the upcoming December film will cover only part of the novel. When and how a second film gets made will depend both on what happens with this first release and when the world goes back to full-steam filmmaking.
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