Back in November, we reported that the producers behind a remake of Dune had been given a strict spring deadline to begin shooting at Paramount before development on the adaptation would be shut down after a four year struggle to bring the giant worm back to the big screen. Well it's now spring and with no director attached let alone any filming done, the unsurprising news has come via Deadline that the film is dead. To be fair, the writing has been on the wall for the Dune remake for a while and the looming deadline was always going to be unreasonable. Four months ago director Pierre Morel (Taken) resigned after a disagreement with studio brass and such a large $100 million budgeted sci-fi tale was never a project a director-for-hire could be appointed. And so it is, the rights to Frank Herbert's sci-fi series are now back in the hands of Richard P. Rubinstein, the gatekeeper of the estate via his company New Amsterdam and who produced the recent mini-series. He says;
Im going to look at my options, and whether I wind up taking the script we developed in turnaround, or start over, Im not sure yet... Right now, Dune has no commitments or attachments. Since I know what I want, eventually, Ill find someone wholl agree with me. What I like is that talent has interesting things to say on how they would approach it.
Though Rubinstein is said to have been impressed enough by Chris Palmer's precisely scripted adaptation of Herbet's expansive novel and indeed Morel's take on the property (a director who replaced Peter Berg when he decided to make Battleship at Universal) that they hope to setup the package with another shingle in the future, only of course if they can convince a studio to front the $100 million cost. Morel is currently directing Earth Defense Force, a Sam Raimi produced alien invasion epic, so he's got other things on his mind right now but perhaps next year Dune could revive somewhere else. I'm certain there'll be a fair few disappointed sci-fi fans today (the novel is famous for it's claim of selling more copies than any other in the genre) and after At the Mountains of Madness was canned a few weeks back, it does feel like the sci-fi honeymoon after Avatar, Star Trek, Moon and District 9's successes, has now started to fade and studio's are reminding themselves that they simply don't front movies for projects like this no more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5O0dwwLpIs Personally speaking, I'm in my mid 20's and haven't found the time to watch the 80's David Lynch adaptation of Herbert's novel or indeed read the book itself, so I can hardly mourn this remake which I might never have neevr got around to seeing anyway.