Pierre Morel exits DUNE, Paramount searching for replacement director

Likely because of incessant delays, Taken director Pierre Morel has resigned from the directing duties on Paramount's $100 million+ adaptation of Frank Herbert's popular sci-fi novel Dune, which Deadline are reporting has until the Spring to begin filming or it'll be canned for good. This probably gives the studio until the new year to find a replacement helmer after previously losing Peter Berg to Universal's board game adaptation of Battleship. The reason for the Spring deadline is Herbert's estate have itchy feet and aren't willing to give Paramount further extensions only to never see the film they were promised ever made. So Paramount are facing potentially their third major restart in attempting to crack the 1966 Hugo Award winning novel, though ideally they hope the unnamed filmmakers (i.e. everyone in town) they have sent Chase Palmer's latest draft screenplay to will like the draft mostly as is, as they scarcely have time for a page 1 re-write. Obviously, that cuts down the creatives they might attract. And Deadline say Pierre Morel is staying on as executive producer, so this is very much Morel's movie under a surrogate helmer. Reading between the lines however there's a good chance the film won't be made at all at Paramount. The scope of the picture is so expansive and so very expensive that they will only pull the trigger if they are 100% confident on how it is shaping up. At the end of the day they are more likely to take the couple of million hit that obtaining the rights and the aborted attempts will have cost them than risk a large budget. As I've mentioned before I know very little of Dune €“ I haven€™t read James Herbert€™s text and nor have I ever seen the infamous David Lynch original but I am very curious as to how they keep hiring action directors for this project, when to me it sounds like it needs a methodical, cerebral, sci-fi kind of guy. A film ripe for a visionary like a Ridley Scott or a Peter Weir type €“ but they will never attract those names with Morel's ideas being so heavily the focus.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.