I was not supposed to see DUNE at TIFF ’21. I had my schedule planned and practically laminated going into Labour Day weekend. So when I received a message regarding seeing DUNE and potentially having the opportunity to interview Director Denis Villeneuve, I had to stop what I was doing and re-evaluate that meticulously planned schedule. It is not every day that you have the chance to interview the beloved Canadian Director and Oscar-nominee behind films such as Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, Sicario and Incendies after all.
When I finally caught my breath and arrived at an early screening of the Film a few days later, all I could think about was the years of anticipation and fan excitement that came along with it. I had never read the book and only had a passing knowledge of David Lynch’s film from 1984. I was unsure what to expect, but knew I was in the hands of a master Filmmaker whose exquisite attention to detail and epic scope made for one of the must-see films of the Fall. Villeneuve has not just made his knockout Science Fiction opus with DUNE so much as he has created a fascinating piece of art that will please die-hard fans and newbies to the story.
Villeneuve graciously took some time to take myself and other roundtable Journalists through his process over a Zoom call during the first weekend of TIFF. He discussed how French Comic Artists and childhood heroes Jean-Pierre Dionnet and Philippe Druillet, who brought him to tears when he met them at DUNE’s Premiere in Paris, inspired his visual sense and style. He also assured us that there was no Director’s Cut of the Film, but admitted that he is “a bit tired” planning the next parts of the DUNE series, which include potential follow-up films and a TV Show.
Here are a few other things we learned during our group chat:
What was your biggest challenge in creating DUNE and doing Frank Herbert’s Novel justice?
VILLENEUVE: “I think the biggest challenge was to make sure that someone who read the Book will recognize the world they saw in their mind as they were reading the Book, a bit like when I saw Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings for the first time. I was like how did [he do it]? I had the impression that he had brought a Documentary film crew into my mind, shooting the images I had seen as I was reading the Book. I was very impressed by The Lord of the Rings, and…the goal [in making DUNE] was to try to bring some of the description from Frank Herbert [to life and] be as close to the spirit of the Book. To feel that at least have one image that some hardcore fan will say ‘Oh, that looks close to what I had in mind!’ I feel like we made an act of humility, trying not to bring our vision but more bring Frank Herbert’s vision to the screen. That’s what the big challenge was [as well as wanting] to make sure that someone who had never read the Book will not feel lost and will feel that they are welcome in the Movie and that it will be understandable to a wide audience.”.
“To find that equilibrium between those two [groups] was not easy to do and that was one of the most difficult things to do for this adaptation. I will say the fact that we split the Movie in two parts makes it easier because it means [I was able to] keep elements for the [potential] second movie, but I had to make strong choices. One of them was that my adaptation would focus on Paul Atreides (played by Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, and that it would be at the very heart of the movie and will make other characters less present. I could not bring everything or the Movie would get crushed under the pressure of so much information.”
What themes and ideas inspired you to adapt the novel now?
VILLENEUVE: “Good Science Fiction means that it necessarily will be a criticism of reality, or at least a mirror of reality. There are several topics being explored by the Novel that I feel became more relevant as time passed by. I think the novel is more relevant to today’s world than it was when it was written [in 1965]. The impact of Colonialism is still totally relevant to today’s world, the overexploitation of natural resources, the danger of blending politics and religion together – it’s all subjects that are very relevant…and more importantly, the environmental crisis. It’s something that Frank Herbert foresaw in the ’60s. He was worried about the change in climate at that time. You can still find interviews of Herbert’s concern about the change and impact of humans on the environment.”
What was the process you and your team took to create the visuals of DUNE?
VILLENEUVE: “I asked my team to do an impossible task – to at least at first, dream about the Movie, to try to go back to the roots of what they saw when they read the Book. To try to be more within the relationship of the subconscious, the dream state, rather than to go and do research on the Internet or be influenced by other artists. Of course, in saying this, it is a bit impossible because we are the product of multiple influences and we are filled with images coming from the outside but I tried…to say to my close partners, ‘Let’s dream together. Let’s try not to find references. Let’s try as much as possible to go deep inside ourselves.’ At least, that’s what I did at the beginning in order to try and find something that will feel kind of new to the audience.”.
What are your thoughts on the current theatrical landscape and if we will get to see a Dune: Part II?
VILLENEUVE: “I am very optimistic about the future of Theatrical Cinema – we shouldn’t say Theatrical Cinema, we should just say Cinema. [The big screen is] part of the language. It’s not being nostalgic talking about the big screen, it’s at the very centre of what Cinema is which is to receive a visual story in the most immersive way [by] bringing a group of human beings together. I hope the first movie will be well-received and will trigger enough enthusiasm to convince Warner Bros. and Legendary to do the second part, but I’m no prophet…I think that in the long term we will [still] be watching [movies in] theatres. As long as Cinema is with us, there will be theatres to show it.”
We also had the opportunity to speak to the incredibly candid and lovely Rebecca Ferguson, who plays Chalamet’s mother Lady Jessica Atreides in the Film. She spoke highly of her Director, the behind-the-scenes team who designed the sets and costumes, and expressed to everyone in our roundtable just how much she “really, really wants to do” Dune: Part II.
What was it like acting alongside this incredible Cast that includes Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya?
FERGUSON: “Zendaya is huge and hopefully if we do a second one, she will appear more in it. But of the Cast list, I have to say I was in awe of Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac and I mean, David Dastmalchian and Stellan Skarsgård and there are many more to [add to] that list. [It was] an honour. An absolute honour. But I think also, doing a film with Denis without knowing the Cast – you know it’s going to be good. It was more a matter of unravelling little Christmas gifts. So Timmy [Chalamet] was the first who was cast. I think I was the second, and then gradually it was sort of a ‘And look who we have here! And look who we have here!’ It was just wonderful.”.
How would you describe the balance between masculinity and femininity in the film?
FERGUSON: “We need to break down what masculinity and femininity is in 2021…Women had no power [in older times] as they do now and yet we’re not even close to what it is to be equal. But they were seen as [being] much more powerful, right? We needed to create the balance and the structure [in DUNE]…it couldn’t be equal. I keep saying this as well, which is an odd thing to say, but the film wouldn’t work with an equal gender neutral position. It is about motherhood. It is about the men making the decisions. But overall, the women are the umbrella. Look at The War of the Roses. Look at the Medieval Times. The men were out in the battlefields, you know slashing and having their jolly old time. The women were plotting the household to create stronger alliances. And this is an on-going theme, isn’t it? What I think Denis did and what he wanted to do was defibrillate the fact that these human beings had powers because of necessity and reason. One of the things we talked about was the gender neutralness of the stillsuit and what it represents. I love that it serves purpose and that it doesn’t just look feminine [or] masculine – it is just a suit for survival.”
How did your acting process on DUNE differ from films like Mission: Impossible and Doctor Sleep?
FERGUSON: “I want different things all the time, otherwise I’d be bored…My process changes because I’m working with new directors. [They] ask of new energies. Tom [Cruise] has such an energy and rush about him that with Mission, it’s a huge film with huge sets, huge stunts and huge energy, and it is just go, go, go all the time. And character-driven as well. But there’s no stillness. You’re never really breathing, which is why they’re so amazing. Denis’ process is finding that complete stillness, finding the drama within character and just dropping them in a set that could eat them up. He finds the juxtapositions of scope and scale. So that just becomes a very different process. And on Doctor Sleep, I just ate kids you know?”
Stay tuned later this week for our full review of DUNE!
Warner Bros. Canada release DUNE in theatres on Friday, October 22, 2021.
*Please exercise caution observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre*
Searchlight Pictures x Mr. Will want to give Readers in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal a chance to see Wes Anderson’s star-studded opus, THE FRENCH DISPATCH!
Screenings take place as follows:
Toronto: Cineplex Varsity at 7:00 PM
Vancouver: Cineplex International Village at 7:00 PM
Calgary: Scotiabank Theatre Chinook at 7:00 PM
Montreal: Cineplex Forum at 7:00 PM
THE FRENCH DISPATCH brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city. It stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson.
To enter for a chance to win, click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK and indicate your City there. Re-Tweet this Contest Tweet below for an extra chance.
We've got your shot to win Advance Passes in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver to see #TheFrenchDispatch!
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After years of anticipation and fan hype, Co-Writer/Director Denis Villeneuve’s take on DUNE has finally arrived. The tale of warring house factions and the native Fremen people over spice on the planet Arrakis is dense to say the least, but fans and novices like myself will equally find something to enjoy in this science fiction epic for the ages.
Long thought unfilmable (though there have been a few attempts to differing results), Villeneuve has taken everything he has learned as a Filmmaker over the past decade and has created something truly breathtaking. The world (or worlds in this case) are fully realized through incredible Production Design and Cinematography. The Visual Effects are spectacular, as are the Makeup Effects and Costuming. Hans Zimmer’s Score is legendary. I do not even have words to describe the sound design; it really is that great. Every single detail is precise, specific and may find you losing focus on the story just to take in everything Villeneuve has packed into the frame. This is not actors playing dress up in front of a green screen – this is next level filmmaking on a grand scale with everyone behind the scenes firing on all cylinders.
While I soaked in every single minute of Villeneuve’s take on DUNE, I found myself held back from truly adoring it because it is only half a story. People who have been following its development will not be surprised to see it called DUNE Part 1 in the opening reel, though some casual audience members may not be particularly pleased to see the Film end on a cliffhanger (nor the multiple false stopping points that make up the Film’s last half hour). I found myself increasingly annoyed by the prophetic visions lead character Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) because I knew I would need to wait until Part 2 in order to see them come to fruition. Moreover, being only half a story takes away from the magnificent performances given by the entire cast because they are not fully formed whatsoever. Zendaya is very clearly pivotal to this story, yet only hovers in the background as an enigmatic presence for the majority of the Film.
All of that may sound like a pan, but it is actually quite the opposite. I was so taken by the story of DUNE and what Villeneuve created that I really did not want to see it end. I wanted to see the next part of the story immediately and genuinely hope the film finds its audience in order to make Part 2 become a reality. Like every great artist, Villeneuve left me wanting more. So believe the hype. DUNE is everything you hoped it would be. Villeneuve is at the top of his game here and this just might be his finest hour.
We are thrilled to have attended an exclusive unveiling of the new Trailer for DUNE, coming to theatres this October. As part of the event, select Media got to preview approximately 20 minutes of this Fall’s most eagerly-awaited cinematic event.
We got a sense of the world that Canadian Director Denis Villeneuve had built for this Film and the central themes the Film explores. Our first impression is that the Film goes to even darker, more intense places than we might have thought initially. The Film explores life on the planet Dune, inhabited originally by the Arrakis. Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) acts as steward of the land, which is the source of the world’s most valuable substance called Spice, which can extend lives, provide great enlightenment and fast travel. Sandworms make the task rather challenging for them and with Leto‘s son and heir Paul (Timothée Chalamet) in line for succession, we see him doubting his ability to carry-on his father’s legacy as he becomes fixated seeing Chani (Zendaya), an Arraki native, in his dreams. Which side will Paul and his Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), his father’s concubine, take?
The central themes of right to land and resources eerily is coming to the forefront at an opportune time, as we reflect on and confront some uncomfortable truths right here in Canada.
Celebrated Composer Hans Zimmer has the important role of crafting the world this Film takes place in with Villeneuve through music and sound. He notes that a primary focus of the Film was to draw strength to the powerfulness and richness of the female characters. “We spent months defining sounds, creating new sounds and pushing the envelope, doing crazy experiments with crazy instruments”, says Zimmer. “Denis and I are trying to invite the audience to come experience something and have their own personal experience. That was for us the reason to make this Film.”.
Warner Bros. Canada release DUNE October 22, 2021.
The jaw-dropping new Trailer for Denis Villeneuve‘s DUNE is now out!
Oscar nominee Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival,” “Blade Runner 2049”) directs Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Dune,” the big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal bestseller of the same name. A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.The film stars Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name,” “Little Women”), Rebecca Ferguson (“Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep,” “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”), Oscar Isaac (the “Star Wars” franchise) Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (“Milk,” “Avengers: Infinity War”), Stellan Skarsgård (HBO’s “Chernobyl,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), Dave Bautista (the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, “Avengers: Endgame”), Stephen McKinley Henderson (“Fences,” “Lady Bird”), Zendaya (“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” HBO’s “Euphoria”), Chang Chen (“Mr. Long,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), David Dastmalchian (“Blade Runner 2049,” “The Dark Knight”), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Netflix’s “Sex Education”), with Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years,” “Assassin’s Creed”), with Jason Momoa (“Aquaman,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), and Oscar winner Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men,” “Skyfall”). Villeneuve directed “Dune” from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth based on the novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert.
See the Trailer:
Warner Bros. Canada release DUNE Friday, December 18, 2020.
TIFF x Mr. Will want to give Readers in Toronto a chance to win Run-of-Engagement Passes to see THE KING at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Synopsis: Hal (Timothée Chalamet), wayward prince and reluctant heir to the English throne, has turned his back on royal life and is living among the people. But when his tyrannical father dies, Hal is crowned King Henry V and is forced to embrace the life he had previously tried to escape. Now the young king must navigate the palace politics, chaos and war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life — including his relationship with his closest friend and mentor, the ageing alcoholic knight, John Falstaff (Joel Edgerton). Directed by David Michôd and co-written by Michôd and Edgerton,THE KING co-stars Sean Harris, Ben Mendelsohn, Robert Pattinson, and Lily-Rose Depp.
We can’t get enough Timothée! Check-out this new Teaser for THE KING!
Synopsis: Hal (Timothée Chalamet), wayward prince and reluctant heir to the English throne, has turned his back on royal life and is living among the people. But when his tyrannical father dies, Hal is crowned King Henry V and is forced to embrace the life he had previously tried to escape. Now the young king must navigate the palace politics, chaos and war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life — including his relationship with his closest friend and mentor, the ageing alcoholic knight, John Falstaff (Joel Edgerton). Directed by David Michôd and co-written by Michôd and Edgerton, THE KING co-stars Sean Harris, Ben Mendelsohn, Robert Pattinson, and Lily-Rose Depp.
And in a blink of an eye, another TIFF has passed and this one had us working right to the finish line! It’s only after the fact that we have a moment to take it all in how much we went through. We estimate double our average in Celebrity Snaps this year. That’s how star-studded TIFF ’18 was. It was that kind of a year!
We had the pleasure of previewing several of this year’s Awards Season contenders and we are waiting with baited breath to see A STAR IS BORN and GREEN BOOK, both outstanding, duke it out for Oscars glory in coming months. We loved both, are thrilled the latter was honoured with the People’s Choice Award at the Festival, but something about the former makes our heart sing. We cannot stop thinking about it or its Soundtrack. It takes a magical Film to do that.
Let’s relive some of my favourite star-studded moments of the Festival, as lensed through the Nikon D3400. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without this amazing camera which worked amazingly-well with our Blackberry Key 2 in terms of file transmission to ensure we were able to get our photos uploaded and edited within moments for you all to enjoy! The clarity of these snaps speak for themselves.
A STAR IS BORN Press Conference
We will never stop taking our signature Celebrity Selfies and TIFF ’18 was unforgettable even if we saw many returning faces. We wouldn’t have been camera-ready without the right gear and depending on each scenario, sometimes the Blackberry Key 2 worked best for those Selfies, sometimes the Nikon D3400 worked better. What matters is that more often than not, we got the snap! And many we did.
Here’s some of our faves!
Jamie Lee Curtis
John David Washington
Kelly Marie Tran
In case you missed our Television appearances during TIFF ’18 this is our first year hitting-up the three big media giants: Global, CITY and CP24 (Bell Media). Thrilled! Our brand continues to thrive as a Festival go-to and we are so happy for the recognition.
Making its World Premiere at TIFF ’18 is Felix Van Groeningen‘s adaptation of Memoirs Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff. The highly-buzzed Film details a father and son’s battle through drug addiction, relapse and reconciliation.
Stars Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell shine in this beautifully-acted Awards Season contender, the former capturing the essence of addiction and his character’s chasing euphoric highs and ultimate rock bottom. The latter embodies well a father’s pain and frustration in helping his troubled son, when the odds are stacked against both. Focusing less on emotional manipulation of its audience and more on the journey and its authenticity, Van Groeningen crafts a patiently-told story. While performances unquestionably are phenomenal, it is it tough to feel invested in a protagonist who continually makes wrong choices, despite Chalamet courageously trying to help us try to understand him. While its cohesiveness ultimately is its main downfall with frequent timeline jumping, fans of the source material and “It Boy” Chalamet will find beauty in this Drama.
BEAUTIFUL BOY screens Friday, September 7 at Roy Thomson Hall and then 8 PM at Elgin Theatre. It plays also Saturday, September 8 Ryerson Theatre10:45 AM.