- Dune miniseries director John Harrison praises Denis Villeneuve’s movies and hopes they will attract new viewers to his adaptation.
- Harrison believes Villeneuve’s approach of splitting the story into two parts, similar to the miniseries, is a smart decision.
- The Dune miniseries was acclaimed for its improvement over Lynch’s film and won two Emmy Awards for Cinematography and Visual Effects, making it highly regarded among viewers.
The Dune miniseries director John Harrison hopes Denis Villeneuve’s movies will bring new viewers to his adaptation. Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 sci-fi novel has been adapted to the screen several times starting with David Lynch’s Dune from 1984, which was a critical and commercial failure and was disowned by the director due to studio interference. In 2000, a three-part miniseries officially titled Frank Herbert’s Dune aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. Villeneuve’s Dune, with the first film released in 2021, has become the definitive Dune adaptation due to its critical and commercial success.
Ahead of the Dune: Part Two release date in March 2024, the Dune miniseries director spoke to ComicBook and shared his praise for Villeneuve’s movies. Harrison, who wrote and directed the Dune miniseries, says he is “very excited” about what Villeneuve is doing with the story and hopes it will introduce newcomers to his previous adaptation. Read what he shared below:
I’m very excited about it. Richard Rubenstein and I were still involved in the development of several attempts to try and get it off the ground after my miniseries. And maybe fortunately, some of those never came to pass because I think what Denis Villeneuve has done is just fantastic. And I love him as a director. I wasn’t involved at all in the latest movies except to have my name put up there. But I think it’s just fantastic and I’m really looking forward to the new ones.
And I hope it does introduce a whole new audience to the Dune world. If they are able to get back and see my miniseries, I’m very proud of them. We were able to … I think the success of them, they won a couple of Emmys and they were hugely successful here and abroad. I think they gave people faith that Dune actually could be adapted again.
How Good Is The Dune Miniseries?
The Dune miniseries was generally well-received by critics and audiences. At the time, it was considered a vast improvement over Lynch’s Dune which tried to cram the entire story, including all its intricate mythology and sprawling scope, into a single 2-hour 17-minute movie. However, it’s worth mentioning that Lynch’s preferred cut was three hours. Nevertheless, the Dune miniseries functioned better as an adaptation with a total runtime of 265 minutes. Today, the Dune miniseries still stands among the highest-rated programs ever broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel. As Harrison mentions, it also won two Emmys for Outstanding Cinematography and Visual Effects.
By breaking the book up into two parts, Villeneuve’s movies adopted a similar approach as the miniseries, which is probably why Harrison appreciates them so much. Similarly, Villeneuve’s Dune won several Oscars for its technical accomplishments, including cinematography, visual effects, production design, and sound. Villeneuve and Harrison’s Dune adaptations actually have much in common, so it’s possible the movies could bring new viewers to the miniseries, as the director hopes. However, one should temper their expectations considering the miniseries is now over 20 years old and was made on a fraction of the budget for $20 million.