back to article Paramount buries Dune remake

The planned Paramount Pictures movie adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune has been cancelled. The attempt to get the 1965 sci-fi classic once again adapted for the silver screen came to nothing after more than a year of development. Paramount had recruited Taken helmsman Pierre Morel to direct. Richard Rubinstein, who controls …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thats two..

    Dune and WW-Z - are paramount making ANY movies anymore?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'd quite like to see an adaptation that wasn't as awful as the first film, but I think it's unlikely.

    1. amanfromearth

      I'll only go see it ..

      .. if Sting plays Feyd Ruatha again :)

      1. Big-nosed Pengie

        I WILL kill you.

        One of the great cinematic moments of all time. Right up there know...that guy in that movie?

    2. Painless

      an excellent adaptaion of Dune

      Try the SciFi channel adaptation miniseries. It was excelent.

      And it actaully did all four books in two miniseries. Dune and Dune Messiah in the first (titled 'Dune'), and Children of Dune and God Emporer of Dune in the second (titled 'Children of Dune').

      And it was mostly European actors , iifc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I remember watching that on a marathon on sci-fi long ago, it was great, the reason it was stuffed with Eastern European actors was because they spent all their money getting the one or two American actors, which was great because the Europeans accents were much more fitting to a grand imperial setting.

      2. 4HiMarks

        I agree

        Too bad SciFi, excuse me, SyFy, lost their way. I don't think I've watched them in some time. Now that BBC America HD is running Dr. Who, I don't have to.

      3. Tom Clark
        Thumb Up


        As it happens, it was Children Of Dune which launched the career of one James McAvoy.

        Swear down.

      4. nichomach
        Thumb Up

        +1 from me

        I thought it remained remarkably true to the book, with excellent performances and a well-managed script.

        1. John 62

          remarkably true to the book?


          I'd say the crazy stuff with the 'weirding modules' made the film even more flawed _because_ there were so many pages of dialog and narration lifted from the book.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Oliver 7

          I didn't dislike it, I just said it was rubbish, and it was lol, I've watched it many a time and will likely watch it many more times, the representation of the Harkonens was good, however it missed a lot of the delicious detail behind the feud.

          The thing that can never be forgiven is the silly sonic weapons they used lol, never forgive!

          There were other things about it that were "le sigh~~~" and it could have done with being 3 hours longer, I think Dune just doesn't make a very good feature film.

      5. Grifter

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        The first mini covered only the first book, the second mini covered messiah and children, god-emperor (or anything after) has not been made into a mini.

        Also the dune saga is a total of 6 books (dune, dune messiah, children of dune, god-emperor of dune, heretics of dune, chapterhouse dune) not 4. More if you include his son's attempts at continuing it.

      6. Stevie


        You mean the one with the terrible terrible awful terrible cockney Gurney Halleck? Every time I see it I'm waiting for him to burst out with a chorus of "Oh it's a jolly 'olliday wiv Muad'dib".

        And the terrible terrible awful terrible dancing tw*t from the guild?

        And the unaccountably missing mentats? (I can hear Gurney 'alleck crin' "Wot, no Thufir f'kin Hawat?")

        And those idiotic hats?

        And the acting? Like: maybe the makers could have hired someone who could do it?

        Kull Wahad! I think someone's brain has been fried by too much Semuta Music.

      7. David Hicks

        All four books?

        Err... no.

        Much as I enjoyed the two miniseries, especially the second one, they only covered three books. Pretty sure the second miniseries covered "Messiah" and "Children"

        Also, there are six books!

        It's just that the end of "Children" is a good place to stop because there's a break of 5000 years or so between there and the story of "God Emperor".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I prefer

          I prefer to forget the books written by his son.

      8. MichaelBirks

        First Three Books only.

        Dune was Dune,

        "Children of Dune" was Dune Messiah in part 1 and Children of Dune in 2 & 3, with an unaccounted for ageing of the children for added hawtness.

        God Emperor wasn't touched. Thankfully.

    3. Oliver 7

      Am I the only one?

      ...who liked the original? I thought it was a flawed masterpiece. Despite some very ropey moments some of the effects were amazing for the time and Lynch's direction lent the film his idiosyncratic discomfiting feel, particularly the Harkonnen scenes.

      1. Thecowking
        Thumb Up

        The Lynch film is a classic

        I love it, it's always been a favourite of mine and while the whole weirding way bit was squiffily done, Sting, Patrick Stewart with hair and flying fat men make it a greta film.

        In fact I shall watch it again tonight. The spice must flow!

      2. Peter Kay

        You're not the only one

        I loved it too. I don't remember the special effects as being /that/ bad, either. Must watch it again..

      3. Stevie



        Of course, then one must sit back, take a second to compose oneself before pounding the table in rage with a shoe and screaming "THOSE F*CKING EYEBROWS!"

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


          Isn't that from FLCL?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        The original is a masterpiece.

        The original is indeed a masterpiece, as (just like Lord of the Rings) it was obviously impossible to make a film of it. There are very few things wrong with the original, mostly to do with bits they missed out. The chances of a crumby remake being even half as good are minimal.

        I assume Americans insist on 90 minute films with simple plots because that's all they can cope with before they have to eat again.

      5. Bod

        The original was brilliant

        Flawed yes, but brilliant. Love the style, the sets, the costumes, music, and it has Sting and Patrick Stewart in the same film, and it's a David Lynch film!

        I watched a bit of the first mini-series but got bored. I admit I haven't read the books and I'm sure it's miles closer to them, but it felt as boring as Babylon 5 to me.

        It's one of those films where it's so iconic that any new version would have to follow it's style. It would be like doing a Flash Gordon film that wasn't as camp and fun as the 80s version. It just wouldn't be right (though doing Flash Gordon without Brian Blessed and a Queen soundtrack would be wrong anyway).

  3. Gerry Doyle 1

    "cut the mammoth subject matter down to a compelling story that could be told at feature length". other words - boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, and in between all that some people get shot. A beginning, a muddle and an end, like every feckin film that's come out of the USA in decades.

    1. vonBureck

      Fixed that story for you

      Droid meets droid, droid becomes chameleon, droid loses chameleon, chameleon turns into blob, droid gets blob back again. Blob meets blob, blob goes off with blob and droid loses blob, chameleon and droid.

      Mine's the furry-collar anorak with "Jupiter Mining Corporation" on the back.

      1. Piloti
        Thumb Up


        My first laugh of the day!


      2. Wize


        The familiar theme of boy-being meets girl-being beneath a silvery moon, which then explodes for no adequately explored reason.

        The one with the book in the pocket that has the words "Don't Panic" written in large friendly letters on the cover.

      3. dssf

        Or, Drob and Bloid, obs and oids...

        Blob meets Droid, Droid screws Blob. Blob gives birth to Drob and Bloid. Drob and Bloid mate. Drob and Bloid change genders. Bloid screws Droid, producing Broid, and Drob screws Blob, producing Brob.

        And along the way oozum smears and melts multiple humans along the way. Sometimes, there's group activity along the way...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Thank <insert false deity>

    Why do they insist on redoing everything? Heath Ledger has been dead over a year, isn't it time to do Batman again?

    There are a lot of talented writers around who never get a chance because hollywood idiots would rather piss money away on overpaid 're-imaging' hack writers who cant do anything original.

    The inevitable failure would get blamed on piracy obviously.

    In the future they should just flush their investment down the toilet themselves to save us from their bad creative waste.

    1. Richard 81

      Normally I agree

      ...except in this case it would be interesting to see a movie of Dune that isn't quite so mad. The original was on over the weekend, and I think 'cult classic' must be a euphemism for 'didn't do well in cinemas because people on acid prefer to watch the popcorn machine'.

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot


      That would suggest a risk and when you're spending $100-$250 million, that's a big risk to take. Easier to play it safe and know that as the executive in a media corp your $4m mansion and fleet of expensive cars are still safe by ensuring bums on seats in cinemas showing the latest over-hyped claptrap!

      1. Captain DaFt
        Thumb Down


        Maybe they should step back and take a look at how this "low risk" strategy seems to be working for them,

        I mean, deals and movies canceled, Studios looking for a buyer/savior because they can't keep the cash flowing...

        Looks like the first one that "risks" doing something fresh and different, on a much lower budget, with unknowns, might just make back their investment a few times over,

        But... that'll never work. A paltry few million in profit just doesn't seem to generate the same excitement in the industry as a movie taking in thousands of millions, but barely covering its expenses.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. James Hughes 1

    So many good SF books

    So few people in Hollywood who can read....

    'Episodes' should be required viewing for all producers.

  6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    I though Hollywood's business model was to do pop-star studded glitzy remakes of old movies that in their day made lots of money in spite of poor visuals

    So their plan is to do a crap remake of a glitzy movie that made no money despite having glitzy production , lots of good actors and the pop star of the day

    ps. I hear Peter Jackson is doing a remake of the 2005 King Kong, the new one is going to be in black and white and will use advanced CGI to make it look like it was shot on grainy 16mm film

    1. Criminny Rickets

      King Kong

      Will he also be using an actress that looks remarkably like Fay Wray?

  7. johnnytruant

    Alejandro Jodorowsky is probably free

    Shame Dali can't make it.

    Greatest film never made, that. Lynch's effort - especially the 3-hour-long fanedit based on the original shooting script - was pretty good, but Dali, Jodorowsky, Gieger and Mobius all working on the same film, with a story by Frank Herbert?

    Can't see the accountants in charge of modern movies going for it though. Sad face.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Dali version

      Not only that list of artists, but I believe the soundtrack was to be done by Pink Floyd!

      I'm glad this one's off the cards if it was just going to be a cut down version. Dune deserves to be epic.

  8. Disco-Legend-Zeke


    ...instead of collapsing the story, it should be expanded. So much great material there.

    A trilogy at least.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        Re: @Perhaps

        And a blu ray box set in 5 years time!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great Novel

    The parallels between oil and the Arabs is spooky.

    1. John 62


      well, the Fremen were descended from a tribe called Zensunni and they had an Arabic-style language. Here on earth, Sunni Islam is the sect of the Arab/Bedouin muslims.

      Where's the Dame Edna Everage icon?

      1. PassiveSmoking


        Zensunni, the appliance of science!

        ... wait.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: parallels

        I think the most enduring thing about the books is the remarkable depth to which Herbert took so many aspects of our current world and extrapolated them forward - it provides a depth you don't often see in sci-fi. And he manages to do it without saying "look at me, I'm clever" and without the past cluttering up the stories. Its what keeps me coming back to the books time and again; there's always something you missed on the last pass.

        While most of the language seems to be derived from Arabic, there are plenty of other linguistic and cultural references including ancient Greece, Russia and even the Aztecs. My favourite religious reference is to the Orange catholic bible - guaranteed to annoy hell out of a lot of people in the place of my birth.

        There's a decent take on the Arabic used in the books at:

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Not really

      Old Herb' meant it that way.

      Also, libertarianism.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    I've watched some of the miniseries online and it's not bad for the obvious low budget but it's not that good either. But watching the miniseries has made me realise what a masterful piece of film making the the David Lynch original was. I think it really had the essence of the book which is no mean feat. I love the book but I think it's borderline unfilmable and I doubt anyone could beat Lynch's attempt.

    1. johnnytruant

      Lynch can beat Lynch's effort

      The mythical three+ hour film that Lynch shot - albeit never edited - has been pieced together by the fans using his original shooting script. If you own one of the Dune DVDs, you have all the footage, so can (I think, local laws may vary) legally download the version by "Spicediver" which is easily findable using Mr Page and Mr Brin's Patented Searching Engine.

      Much better than the theatrical release, which I thought was excellent anyway. Lots more coherent, deeper and apparently the script was Herbert-approved too (Frank, not Brian). I'm sure I read somewhere that the sonic-gun/weirding modules were Herbert's idea, even, because he felt the whole prana-bindu Bene Gesserit combat thing was too complicated to explain in a film.

    2. John 62

      Lynch, masterful?

      No. The direction was awful. Keeping pages of narration and dialog from the book was good. ADDING things was sacrilegious.

      The book is in no way 'unfilmable'. Granted, I'm not a director, so I'm not going to try to beat Lynch's attempt, but there is scope for much improvement, especially if you don't add any extra nonsense in.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Sci Fi classics

      ......and their unfilmable stories this is the problem with all of the best books they are so well internally scripted that any other script does not seem to come close.I personally think that "Hollywood"should not even contemplate doing this particular book as only one film but probably two.

    4. LaeMing

      I always wondered...

      ...what it would be like if the mini-series had had the budget of the film.

  11. John 62

    I loved Dune (the book)

    But I also thought it could have been edited better. I thought a few scenes towards the end were a bit rushed. However, it's real strength was not just the mostly great writing and the engaging universe that was created, but it was also an unsettling look into the exercise of power and influence. Paul Muad'dib, House Atreides and the Fremen were in no way whiter than white: they just weren't as evil as the Harkonnens.

    Anyway, I think it's for the best that the film is being shelved for a while. The mini-series wasn't that long ago and if the memory of Lynch's awfulness can fade a bit, that's all the better. I also wouldn't mind a Fellowship of the Ring/Jurassic Park-style adaptation where some scenes and characters can be cut or consolidated to fit into a 2-hour film. Or I think it could be made into a double-feature. Part 1 ending with Harkonnens taking back Arrakis and Part 2 covering the rest. Arguably the book should have had that structure, too.

    Finally, I don't care about Sting, but Patrick Stewart would have to be in any remake.

  12. Robert E A Harvey


    >The planned Paramount Pictures movie adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune has been cancelled.

    Thank christ for that. They bolloxed it up badly enough the first time. It's a massive, intricate, saga that you don't come to understand until quite a long way in. It's a book, not a film, leave it alone!

  13. hugo tyson

    About Arabia

    Well yeah, Herbert used a lot of Arabian desert ideas/culture/words as if he had invented them, thus giving Dune and the Freman a plausible hot dry desert dwelling feel. For example, "Baclava: a sweet dessert of the Empire" - no it's not, it's a sweet dessert of Earth dammit.

    I like the first film; I'd rather see a film of "Doon - the dessert planet" with its wastes of sugar, and the mystic BEER which gives the red-on-red looking eyes of the users of BEER... &c &c.

  14. Graham Bartlett


    I saw it for the first time a few months back. Until Paul Atreides gets to the Fremen, it is *perfect*. Thereafter everything goes to hell in a handcart in pretty short order, as vast swathes of plot and character are cut to fit far too little screen time. Also wish they'd left out the "weirding module" guns, which were completely unnecessary.

    An amazing thing is that most of the special effects still work. The only way you'd tell this wasn't filmed in the last couple of years was the back-projection scenes on the worms. The shield effect in particular was an incredibly original image for me in 2010 - in 1984 it must have been "WOAH!! WTF did we just see?!?!"

  15. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Well I liked it

    Apart from the trauma of Sting in purple posing pouch I thought it did a good job.

    The visuals were stunning, the performances mostly very good and it did an impressive job of keeping to a fairly complex story. It's been a while since I last read it but I think he film was a lot closer to the book than PJ's LotR for example.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    A great book that is probably unfilmable as a movie....

    The book is just too complex with the insights into various future cultures, the subplots, the Machiavellian politics of the various factions and Paul's journey of self-discovery.

    It could make a great mini-series if someone wanted to throw $80 or $100 million and a talented cast at it, but would the general public turn out to see a dense, thoughtful sci-fi epic?

    My favorite part (unintentionally) of the original movie was a bridge where the narrator talked about Paul learning the ways of the Fremen and how "his and Chani's love grew". Having read the book I remember chuckling heartily about how the producers and writers had just breezed through 200+ pages of the novel in about 15 seconds :)

    I for one welcome our Paramount studio exec overlords, especially if they are dropped off in the middle of Arrakis' dune sea right next to the only pile driver operating for 1000 miles in all directions :)

  17. Adam T


    "cut the mammoth subject matter down to a compelling story that could be told at feature length".

    Pocahontis, in a desert, then.

    To be fair, as much as I loved the book, it is a bit bloody long.

  18. Stuart Duel

    I vote for a trilogy...

    ...directed by Peter Jackson. I'm sure he would do the story justice so long as he doesn't try to make it "family friendly".

  19. Craig 28

    Lynch's effort had its moments

    Though it was far too positive and cuddly in its outlook, lacking the grim foreboding. I'll also agree that the Wyrding modules made sense at the time since it would have been difficult to represent the ultra-precise fighting style, the only way to do it with modern technology would be having everyone not using it in slow motion or having the users in fast forward in my opinion. The narrated epilogue was also quite nauseating. Paul spreading love? Oh puhlease.

    Sting made a decent Fade, being plenty vicious enough. Unfortunately the Baron lacked the low cunning of the books, coming across as an idiot unlikely to be much of a threat to any real power unless they were required by Imperial edict to clean his drains or something. He was a completely farcical character. Even Duke Leto's ambition was poorly reflected, him being too family oriented.

    That said the still suits were very sexy, and there was always something unbelievably hot about the Fremen women. Thank goodness Westwood used Lynch's model for their Fremen in their Dune games. As a teenager in the 90's those Fremen women had a huge impact on me with their black hair and piercing blue eyes.

  20. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down

    Syfy sucked

    I tried to watch it I really did. But it was plain BORING! I have read the first 3 books and seen the Lynch movie which I adore but then I am an acid child so it appeals to my lucid dream state I guess.

    A remake would have to be VERY good indeed (as in rave reviews) to get me interested.

  21. Stevie


    Lynch should be lauded for Dune, mostly, but then shot twice. Once for the stupid replacement of Alia's voice with an obvious adult woman's and again for the rain at the end.

    Then the body should be chopped up and the bits jumped on for THOSE F*CKING EYEBROWS!

  22. Martin.Hale
    Thumb Up


    I always gave Lynch full credit for trying. Bits of his film were absolute genius but other parts were muddled. It was the first exhibition of steampunk style that I can recall seeing outside of the original Flash Gordon teevee series. Oh, and the girl who played Alia won my heart with the way she delivered the "For he is the kwisatz haderach" at the end of the film.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. David 141

    Robin hood in the desert

    The book is great, but why bother even trying to film it? A simplified plot would leave out all the "perils of being a messiah" stuff and the hydrolic despotism etc and just focus on the betrayal by the emperor and harkonen and Paul the leading of a bunch of "outlaws" to revenge. Its an old formula, more suited to a single film than the complexities of the novel. Still leaves lots of room for special effects and fight scenes.

    1. lou
      Thumb Up

      Re: Robin hood in the desert

      >Still leaves lots of room for special effects and fight scenes

      And massive, massive worms.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Just remaster the sound from the first version

    and replace the electric guitar with an orchestral piece and it will be unnecessary to make it again.

  26. Denarius Silver badge

    oh crap, crap

    crap books, crap film. Good they saved the cash. Why not Niven and Pournelle as sources of scripts? If you want old old stuff, their take on Dantes Inferno was brilliant.

    If you want crime, Gil the ARM. Adventure, the Man Kzin Wars which have years of fresh intelligent stuff. And for the big big screen, RingWorld series. For the doomsdayers of all kinds, the novella based on the Norn short story. Fantasy, sort of, Smoke Ring, about life in freefall around a neutron star. Creepy stuff Dawkins and Rabbitburough would love in Protector. Short stories like Neutron Star have lots of ideas, but not sure how they would translate to screen. Bit like doing O Henry. Do-able by very good directors only.

    Then there is Heinlein. Just so long they keep the management who totally messed up StarShip Troopers out of the way. Farmer in the Sky would be great for the teens. Of course intelligent stuff such as the issues involved in genetic engineering of humans like "Beyond this Horizon" would need to be out of consideration. Can't have the peasants being encouraged to think these days.

  27. Max_Normal

    Or just make an all NEW SciFi film out of a decent book.

    Ok, we got a reasonable film of Dune already. It's about time we had some all time classics dramatised. How about Ringworld (Larry Niven, 1970, up yours Halo), The Mote In God's Eye, Consider Phlebas, Use of Weapons, Ender's Game etc etc. All better than Dune IMO (Don't downvote me! It's all subjective right?). Personally I loved David Lynch when he was making his own stuff, but that's just my own opinion. Ringworld is as rip-snorting and out there as Star Wars, would make an incredible movie. Nice they thought of the intelligent Sci-fi reader with Dune though, they normally just pander to kids with console spinoffs.......

    Not sure how a hardcore Herbert fan would feel about Lynch's original movie though, I'm still smarting about the abysmal Judge Dredd f*ckup, I would not mind seeing that put right with a decent film, soooo........

    1. nichomach

      I vote

      Peter F. Hamilton, Night's Dawn Trilogy

  28. Max_Normal
    Thumb Up

    Sorry Denarius

    Didn't read you before posting, but +1 anyway!

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