A film-event awaited for several decades by science fiction fans and Frank Herbert readers, Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” is finally landing on French screens, with a few figures which illustrate the scope of the project.
165,000,000: the estimated cost (in dollars) of Dune, the biggest budget of Denis Villeneuve’s career ahead of Blade Runner 2049, which was produced for around $ 150 million.
1000: the number of technicians involved in the production of the feature film.
37: the number of days that American spectators will have to wait to discover the film, dated October 22, 2021 across the Atlantic. The feature film will thus benefit from an early release in Europe from September 15, and in particular in France.
23: the length of the single ornithopter – the vessels used to move over the sands of Arrak – manufactured life-size for the needs of the feature film. “The ornithopter is a vessel that flies like a bird”, explains artistic director Patrice Vermette. “It has wings that move very quickly, like a hummingbird or a dragonfly. It measures 39 meters in wingspan and 23 meters in length. I was inspired by birds, insects and helicopters.”
19: the number of opponents Jason Momoa faces in a fight streak on Arrakis against the Harkonnen and Sardaukars. Despite his background in the field on Aquaman, Conan or See, this is the most complex action scene the comedian has faced.
14: the age at which Denis Villeneuve, now 53, discovered Frank Herbert’s novel. “I discovered the book when I was a teenager and I was totally fascinated by its poetry, by its talk about nature because the real protagonist of Dune is nature. At the time, I was a science student, and I was hesitating between becoming a director or a biologist. Suddenly, Herbert’s approach to ecology seemed new, rich, poetic, powerful to me “.
10: the number of vibrating machines, embellished with wooden blades, which were buried under the sand to simulate the movement of the Shai-Hulud, the gigantic and cult to the sands of the universe of Dune. “We always know that a worm is not far away, because we told ourselves that they give off so much force under the earth that the ground trembles and that causes automatically these cascades of sand on the dunes “, explains visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert. “When the viewer sees a worm approaching, he sees the surrounding dunes flowing like water: I really liked the idea that, in this arid desert, this creature could simulate water when the sand rises. and sag “.
9: the number of months the feature film has been postponed. Initially expected on screens in December 2020, it has seen its release postponed to fall 2021 in the face of the health situation linked to COVID-19, with a World Premiere at the Venice Mostra.
7: the number of hours of make-up required to transform Stellan Skarsgård into the formidable Baron Harkonnen, a massive and disturbing figure supported by suspensors. “Psychologically, I could handle it because it was interesting watching prosthetists working. But physically, it was difficult: you had to stay still for seven hours. There were layers and layers of makeup. The most important thing was the face, which required extremely delicate work. Then you had to put on the prosthetic suit covering the entire body, the cooling vest underneath and sometimes a harness for rope work. I had to paint the spaces between the fake skin of the face, the hands and the costume. It was very complicated “.
4 to 6: the duration that would have dreamed of Jason momoa (who plays the warrior Duncan Idaho) for this first part of Dune. “It was really a cool movie to make. I don’t want us to cut back, I want us to be able to see Denis Villeneuve’s vision as a whole. You know what they would need to do. do? They should do a 4-6 hour version for that first episode of Dune so viewers can watch it as a series. “
4: the number of days of filming of Zendaya, which camps the Fremen Chani, central in the course of Paul Atréides on Arrakis. Present through dreamlike sequences then at the end of the feature film, the character will be at the heart of part 2 that is preparing Denis Villeneuve.
4: the number of countries that have hosted the filming of the feature film. Hungary (plateaus and outside Budapest), Norway (planet Caladan) as well as natural sites in Jordan and Abu Dhabi (planet Arrakis).
2: the number of “green screen” scenes that Timothée Chalamet shot, a surprising naturalistic approach for a blockbuster of this magnitude, illuminated by cinematographer Greig Fraser. “You rarely see sets of this magnitude these days where everything is digitally transformed. But for this project, it all comes down to Denis’ vision that the whole is actually filmed, without relying on digital. So we built hard sets on a much larger scale than most current productions “.
2: the second part of this adaptation is already eagerly awaited, Denis Villeneuve having only transposed to the screen in this feature film half of the first novel by Frank Herbert. “This story is too complex to be told in one opus, and for me, despite the difficulties – because it is the most important and complex film of my career – Dune is like a taste, an appetizer. work of the second part which remains to come, and which will be the main course “.
1: the team of Denis Villeneuve is the very first to gain access to the “Military Dunes” area, an area closed to the public on the border between Jordan and Israel, and used for military training. “The sand is completely virgin there, no one had ever walked on it”, remembers stage manager Nick Oliver. “The dunes flow unimpeded into the desert and change continually. It’s wonderful, but that’s also what makes working outdoors difficult! Suddenly the dunes are drifting in the wind and the landscape is constantly changing. “.
1: the number of actors that Denis Villeneuve met for the role of Paul Atreides. In this case Timothée Chalamet, which was for him the one and only choice for the main role of this saga. “The choice of Timothée Chalamet turned out to be very simple: there was no casting! I was only considering Timothée. I had no plan B. In other words, I was shooting Dune with Timothée Chalamet, a period that’s all. (…) He is a huge actor, fascinating and wonderful. To carry such a film on his shoulders, you have to have an actor of great strength, and Timothée has several qualities that me. prompted him to take on the role. “