Dune director Denis Villeneuve reveals the one part of Frank Herbert’s book that did not make it into the theatrical cut of his film.
Denis Villeneuve, director of the upcoming Dune adaptation, has talked about what aspect of Frank Herbert’s original book he wishes he could have put in the film. Dune is another movie adaptation of the iconic sci-fi novel. The previous Dune was directed by David Lynch and came out in 1984. Villeneuve has been discussing making this film for a while now, and there has been a lot of hype surrounding his version. With reviews recently coming out and its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, the movie is finally closer than ever.
The novel Dune was released in 1965 and has been critically acclaimed and regarded as one of the best sci-fi novels of all time. Villeneuve Dune will only cover the first half of the novel, with the director hopeful he can later make a sequel. The book follows Paul Atreides (played by Timothée Chalamet in the movie) as he and his family leave their home planet to accept stewardship on the desert planet Arrakis. There, the Atreides house, knowing that they are walking into a trap, deal with evil forces and the people of Arrakis while they manage the planet and its spice, a drug that enhances human abilities. The film also stars Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgård, and Zendaya, who is planned to be the main character in Dune 2.
Now in an interview with SlashFilm, Villeneuve reveals that the one part of the novel he couldn’t fit in his movie was the baliset. The director explains that they filmed Brolin playing the baliset but that it didn’t make it into the final cut. Villeneuve’s full quote can be read below:
I will say something to you guys that … There’s one thing that it’s painful for me. It’s Gurney Halleck’s baliset. It’s something that I shot. It’s something that exists. Josh was awesome but for several reasons, I was not able to put it in Part One.
In the original novel, the baliset is an instrument that Gurney Halleck (Brolin) plays. It is similar to a lute, being a stringed instrument, but there were no clear details on it in the novel. It was played in the 1984 adaptation by Halleck. At two hours and thirty-five minutes, Dune is already packed with content, so it makes sense that some things couldn’t make it to the final cut. As mentioned above, Villeneuve plans on making Dune 2, so it’s possible the footage they already shot of the instrument could appear in the sequel if Warner Bros. greenlights the project.
Worrying about such a relatively minor part of the novel like the baliset shows Villeneuve’s dedication to the source material. The ’80s Dune wasn’t incredibly well-received, but it’s clear that Villeneuve is trying to deliver a worthwhile adaptation. This endeavor was no doubt challenging for the director, especially since Dune is such a popular novel. Movies often can’t be direct adaptations of books for a variety of reasons, and with Dune already on the longer side of theatrical releases, it’s not surprising that little details like the baliset ended up on the cutting room floor.
- Dune (2021)Release date: Oct 22, 2021
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