Header Ads

Why Dune Director Shot Desert Scenes in Abu Dhabi’s Hottest Period

The director of Dune, Denis Villeneuve, explains why the desert scenes were shot in Abu Dhabi during the hottest period of the year. The highly-anticipated sci-fi feature boasts a stellar cast including Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem and Stellan Skarsgard, to name a few. Based on the 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert, Dune is set in the distant future and primarily focuses on Paul Atreides (Chalamet), son of Duke Leto Atreides (Isaac), after his family accepts a stewardship on the desert planet Arrakis. The plot revolves around the struggle for the control of Arrakis and its drug called "spice," which is known to grant superhuman capabilities and assist space navigation.

Villeneuve has become one of the most sought-after directors over the last decade, with an impressive filmography that consists of critically acclaimed titles like Enemy, Prisoners and Sicario. He also acquired the much-needed experience of directing sci-fi epics like Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 before he ventured into making Dune. The French-Canadian director is known for his complex stories and unique visual style, the latter of which is brilliantly highlighted in his use of filming locations. Filming for Dune took place in Hungary, Jordan and Norway, but the location used as the main backdrop for the planet of Arrakis was the Liwa Desert in Abu Dhabi. It was also the setting for the planet Jakku in JJ Abrams' 2015 feature, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Related: How Denis Villeneuve's Dune Could Kickstart The Next Big Sci-Fi Franchise

According to Robbie McAree of Epic Films (via The National), who provided production services for Dune, Villeneuve and his team "fell in love with the UAE and the desert landscape." This is no surprise given that the vast landscape is enveloped with sand dunes, which form one of the major natural elements in the world of Arrakis. However, a myriad of challenges was presented during the shoot, as the filming coincided with peak temperatures in the summer months of July and August. McAree explained that summer in the region “has grayer skies and a lot more haze," which was "absolutely perfect" for Villeneauve's vision. In a behind-the-scenes video, the director himself also called the landscape "mesmerizing," saying it perfectly complemented the film's atmosphere. Read Villeneauve's full comments below:

“What I found in Abu Dhabi is unmatchable. There’s a scale to the dunes and the desert in a variety of shapes that we thought was absolutely mesmerizing. There’s also some climatic conditions there that were perfect for us because of the proximity to the city, it’s like a strange kind of haze in that air that I was looking for that matched totally with the look of the film.”

McAree elaborated further on how they came up with an approach to shooting that was "safe for everyone." He said that because of the harsh conditions on the Dune set, air conditioning units had to be set up inside specially-made tents to preserve the camera equipment and the cast and crew from the extreme conditions. Being an enthusiastic advocate of practical effects over CGI, there is no doubt that the location was going to factor into Villeneuve's perception of the fictional planet of Arrakis. If the recent trailers are anything to go by, Villeneuve and his team ultimately found the ideal location for the film's dramatic desert scenes, as the picturesque landscape is on full display for viewers to see.

Fans of the classic sci-fi novel and cinema-goers alike are sure to be treated to an exciting adaptation, and with Dune getting a PG-13 rating, the film will be a lot more accessible to audiences worldwide (as opposed to Denis Villeneuve's last directorial effort Blade Runner 2049, which was rated-R). Furthermore, the PG rating will surely boost the box-office performance of the film, as indicated from overseas markets. The film's current Rotten Tomatoes score also stands at an impressive 91%. The many positive early reviews, paired with the stunning visuals promised by previous trailers, are setting up grand expectations ahead of Dune's US release on October 22.

Next: HBO Max: Every Movie & TV Show Coming In October 2021

Source: The National

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.