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Denis Villeneuve to Continue Sci-Fi Streak by Directing ‘Dune’

With ”Arrival“ out and ”Blade Runner 2049“ on its way, Villeneuve will next tackle Frank Herbert’s legendary novel

“Arrival” director Denis Villeneuve added another sci-fi movie project to his filmography by signing on to direct Legendary’s upcoming adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert novel “Dune.”

The author’s son, Brian Herbert,  is an executive producer on the film and confirmed the filmmaker’s involvement on Twitter Tuesday night.

Brian is sharing EP credit with his daughter, Kim, and Byron Merritt. Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, and Cale Boyter are also producing.

Villeneuve has quickly built a reputation as one of the hottest directors in Hollywood thanks to his recent streak of hit thrillers, including “Prisoners” and “Sicario.” Last week, he received his first Best Director Oscar nomination for his work on “Arrival,” an allegory featuring a linguist who learns how to communicate with an alien race that has suddenly appeared on Earth and caused a global crisis through their mere presence.

Now it seems that “Arrival” is the start of a full shift for Villeneuve from thrillers to science fiction. Along with “Dune,” he is also currently working on “Blade Runner 2049,” the highly anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic 80s sci-fi tale. That film is set to be released this October.

Written in 1965, “Dune” is considered to be one of the all-time great novels of the 20th century. It tells the tale of the desert planet Arrakis — called Dune by its inhabitants — and the intergalactic feudal society it is a part of. The planet contains “Spice,” a mysterious and highly addictive chemical that allows for memory transfer, visions of the future, and greatly expanded life span. Our hero is Paul Atreides, the heir of the noble family in charge of Arrakis, who becomes embroiled in a bitter war for control of the planet and its Spice.

“Dune” was first adapted in 1984 after many previous failed attempts over the previous 13 years to get a production going.  David Lynch was brought on by producer Raffaella De Laurentiis — daughter of famed producer Dino de Laurentiis — to write and direct the film, but it was largely panned by movie critics and flopped at the box office. It was then turned into a miniseries in 2000 by the Sci-Fi Channel (now known as SyFy). Directed by John Harrison, the series remains one of the highest-rated shows in the channel’s history and was much better received critically, even winning two Emmys for its technical work.