Almost 50 years after the words “Dune” appeared on a screen, a new take on the story from Francis Ford Coppola (with a cast including Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson and Rebecca Ferguson) is looking like the one that finally takes off.
Variety reports that Paramount and Bad Robot, the production company co-founded by the actor Brad Pitt, have picked up the rights to the science fiction novel for an estimated $60m. The book was first published in 1965 and, by 1980, had sold more than 20m copies worldwide, going on to be turned into a 1984 film, a 1984 TV series and at least nine miniseries. This latest version will not be based on any of those versions, but it is largely inspired by the first book.
Coppola and his older brother, Francis Ford Coppola Jr, released a second adaptation of Dune in 1984 and even further into the modern era in 1997, with a story that has been adapted as a game and cartoon.
“There has been a disconnect between the book and the movies, and my brother and I felt that it was important to go back to the source material and try to make something new and original that would please everyone,” Coppola told Variety. “We also wanted to leave room for an audience to discover Dune for the first time through the movie, so we opened it up to a much wider audience than the limited 25m to 30m who have watched the first two movies.”
The screenplay will be penned by Oscar nominee Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) and the director, Terry Gilliam, may still take part in the project, though this has not been confirmed.
Pushed aside in favour of the inevitable sequel to Bond movies, the Dune script has been languishing in development hell for years, with the project once picking up such interesting names as Brian Helgeland, David Benioff and Richard Wenk, who both worked on the scripts for Pirates of the Caribbean.