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Capone talks FROM PARIS WITH LOVE, TAKEN, and DUNE with director Pierre Morel!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here. To the untrained eye, Pierre Morel is still a relatively new director, with his latest work FROM PARIS WITH LOVE, starring a bald and insane John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, being his third film as a director after the high-energy jolt DISTRICT B13 and last year's surprise hit TAKEN, starring Liam Neeson. But if you're familiar with the works of Luc Besson, who wrote and/or provided the story ideas for all three of Morel's films, then you know that Morel has been Besson's frequent cinematographer and/or camera operator since THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC. Many of the film that Besson has had a hand in producing or directing (like a couple of the TRANSPORTER movies, TAXI 2, DANNY THE DOG aka UNLEASHED), Morel has been behind the camera finding kinetic new way of capturing some unbelievable action sequences He's also been a go-to guy for other films that shot in Paris, such as SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE, THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE, and BEFORE SUNSET. But with the recent announcement that Morel will be taking over the reigns from Peter Berg to direct a new version of DUNE in the near future, he is officially stepping out from Besson's production umbrella and making his first studio film (with Paramount), and his long-term love of the material makes him seem to be the perfect director (and co-writer, according to our talk) of this material. But we were brought together primarily to talk about FROM PARIS WITH LOVE, an international action/spy film that throws one ugly cowboy of an American (Travolta) in league with a buttoned-down diplomat (Meyers) in a uber-violent explosion of, well, explosions, gun fire, and blood. Among other reasons, I love this movie because there's at least one character who just doesn't give a fuck who gets hurt or caught in his crossfire. And as much as I tend not to believe Travolta as a bad guy/asshole characters he's done in other films, he's doing something a little more complex in FROM PARIS WITH LOVE than it might seem at first. I'll have my review later in the week. For now, please enjoy my conversation with my new favorite Frenchman Pierre Morel.
Pierre Morel: Hello! Capone: Hello, Pierre, how are you? PM: I’m good. How are you? It’s nice to meet you on the phone. Capone: Excellent. So where are you calling from? PM: Right now we are in New York. We had the premiere yesterday in New York, and I’m still here. Capone: Okay. Since I didn’t get a chance to talk to you about TAKEN--I did get to talk to Liam Neeson about it and that was a great conversation--but I’m just curious, looking back you have to be really pleasantly surprised and maybe even a little amazed to see how well that movie did just across the world. PM: Oh, of course. We never expected that, honestly. It was really cool. I enjoyed making it, and we had such great fun doing it with Liam and we were very satisfied with it, both him and me I think. But we had no idea it would do so well. We had no idea. It was a pleasant surprise, and it kept going. It was like “Okay, we had a great opening weekend” and then the next one was better and so on and so it. [laughs] It was like “Wow!” That was a ride. Capone: What about the film do you think people were drawn to? It’s a very small story in retrospect. It’s a lot different than the new film in that it’s just really about this father and daughter and reconnecting them. What do you think people were drawn to about that film? PM: Maybe just that simple story. It just arrived at the right moment. You know what? When we opened it in the States, the [economic] crisis was hitting hard and maybe having that satisfying story that reminds you that the right man can do the right thing to save his family was something reassuring. So I think on top of the great performance that Liam gave us and the pace and everything, t is reassuring you know? Everybody’s worst nightmare is to be confronted with kind of situation. Everybody’s dream, if you are a young woman or you are a girl, is to have a father like this one. If you are a father, your dream is to be able to save your daughter if anything happens. As a father, I loved the movie, you know? Forgetting my filmmaker thing and just being like the standard viewer, as a father, I was like “Wow, I would love to be that guy.” [Both Laugh] Capone: Some of the violence in that film, which I think it did shock people to a certain degree, but you could almost understand it and forgive it, because again he’s trying to save his family. In this new film, it’s completely over the top. It’s huge and it’s big. Can you talk about the difference? The scene in TAKEN where Liam shoots the woman in the leg to get her husband to talk, that really took a lot of people by surprise, whereas FROM PARIS WITH LOVE is like a whole movie full of scenes like that. PM: It’s a totally different tone, you’re right. You kind of accept the violence in TAKEN, because he does that to save his daughter. And there’s one thing I’d like to point out, a lot of people saw it as a revenge movie, but I don’t think of it as a revenge movie. I think of it as a rescue movie. It’s completely different. He’s not going for revenge, he just wants to get his daughter back, and whoever gets in the way, well too bad. But you forgive him for being so violent, because he’s not killing good guys; he’s killing bad guys apart from the woman. He does it all to save his daughter, and there’s nothing more precious than that. It is a dark movie. Now FROM PARIS WITH LOVE is a comedy. It’s a buddy movie or at least that’s the way I see it. It’s not a serious movie about terrorism; it’s about the relationship between those two guys, so doing some over-the-top characters and over-the-top violence and action was just the tone of it. It’s not supposed to be taken seriously. It really is the pure guilty pleasure thing. [Both Laugh] Capone: I feel no guilt about liking the movie. The thing that made me laugh the hardest is, obviously John Travolta is a very funny character, but he represents everything that we as Americans are afraid people in other countries think of us. He is this American that comes into another country and just kills and destroys everything and just leaves a cloud of dust and blood, and that’s it. It’s the ugliest of the ugly Americans. Were you thinking about that when you were making it? PM: Him being American doesn’t really count. The character is just like that, an over-the-top cowboy style, arrogant and everything you could want, but actually that’s his M.O. It’s a part of the character within the character, Charlie Wax actually may not really be like this. There are moments of emotion where you show that he is a human being, then he just acts like that crazy, completely ruthless guy, and I think it’s just fun. It’s not just specific to Americans man. Granted, we had American characters and a cast of American people, but it’s not about the American people at all. It’s just about funny characters. Capone: I think most Americans are going to think it’s about Americans. That might almost make it better I think. To me, that just makes it funnier. It makes me laugh. PM: [laughs] That’s cool. The opening scene with the customs guy still makes me laugh very, very much. Honestly Capone: I don’t think there’s any question that you know how to direct an action sequence, tell me what you think about your style as a director of actors and of drama, because you certainly had some of that in TAKEN. How do you rate yourself as a director of actors outside from the action sequences? PM: Even as an action director I wouldn’t rate myself. I don’t know. You would have to ask other people about that. Ask the actors. I don’t know, I just want to see things and hear things and be pleased. You know that your directions are right when you look through the camera, and you are having the fun and the pleasure that you expected. That’s what I look for. When I do a movie, that’s what I look for and how I get to that point by directions, I don’t know. You just talk with actors and give them the freedom once you have defined the character, give them the freedom to assimilate that and give purpose to some stuff and then put in some small details until you get the final result. I wouldn’t dare even rate myself. I’m not there yet. [laughs] Capone: In terms of your relationship with Luc Besson, obviously it’s a long and prosperous one. How involved does he get at this point with you in terms of as a producer, or does he just sort of turn over a script to you and say “Go for it?” PM: Exactly. That’s the kind of relationship we have. He’s giving me the keys to the car, and I give them back a year later, still working. It’s a great situation, actually. I wouldn't say he leaves me alone, but I can do whatever I want. We have very few discussions. There are always discussions in the beginning when we start preparing things like about the tone and how I see it and how he sees it. Then he hardly shows up during the entire shoot and in the editing room. He just shows up when I show him my cut, and then we do little trimmings. But I had the chance to be in that situation with him. He let’s me do my stuff ,and as long as he’s pleased with that, I’m happy. [Laughs] Capone: Do you notice, just from working with him the most closely over the years, is there something about his style of directing that you see has rubbed off on you, or are there things that he does that you go out of your way not to do? PM: It probably changes and has evolved over the years. I’m sure that by working with him very often as a camera operator or a DP, I probably took some of his habits at the beginning. But the more I go, the further I get away from his style actually, if ever I was in his style. I’m still a fan of his movies. I always have to figure it out with myself if I had the same script as he did, for instance, “How would I do it?” It would be totally different. Totally different, visually and everything, so I think there’s no connection. There was a connection very early in my career, but there was not more connection between our two styles. Capone: Right. In your first two films as a director, you tried to make the action sequences not overblown, but very naturalistic and I think you tried very hard not to let them look choreographed. Even in this new one, although it’s a much bigger film in terms of the action, you like that sort of hand-to-hand, close-quarters thing. PM: It depends. It has to be in phase with what the characters are supposed to be able to do. For TAKEN for instance, I felt like the action style made sense with Liam’s character. There was no way I was going--although itt was sometimes scripted like that--there was no way I was going to have him do a kung fu-style martial arts walking on the ceiling thing. It wouldn’t make sense. To be a very realistic, fast, close-combat, that was what those guys would have to do in real like. You would have to hit hard and whoever hits first is winning. You haven’t got to hit each other for hours, it doesn’t work like that. So I think it made sense to be realistic in that way. For this one and once again, this one is a little more over the top, so we could afford to be way less realistic and be much more playful with that, I think. And also because it was John Travolta, I felt like doing a little homage to John Woo, one of the great action directors that I really worship and admire. That was a different approach really. It is more choreographed in a way. Capone: I remember reading some interviews with you, I think it was when you were doing the rounds with TAKEN that you had mentioned that you at some point wanted to make a film that was not Luc Besson connected in anyway, and I think that was even before you had an inkling that DUNE was in your future. I assume that DUNE will not be anything that Besson has anything to do with? PM: Absolutely. Capone: How does that prospect hit you? PM: It’s a way different experience. If I do DUNE, which I hope, it will be with Paramount, and I definitely will not have the same relationship with the studios that I would have with Luc. It’s just a different way to work and a different way to handle the production. I look forward to it. It’s just a new experience; you learn from new experiences. I look forward to that. Will I miss that freedom that he gave me, or will I replace it with something else? I don’t know.[laughs] We will see, but yeah the next movie, if it’s DUNE, will probably be without Luc, but we have other projects coming up together. Capone: That’s good to hear. Where are you with DUNE? Have you started in the design phase? PM: We are really super early in the process. We will start writing probably early in February, so we haven’t even started writing anything yet. Simultaneously then, we will do up some visual concepts and drawings and start scouting and seeing what is feasible and where we want to be at. But we are very early in there. It’s very very early. Capone: Now I understand that you scrapped the script that Peter Berg was working with. And it sounds like you have a hand in writing the new one? PM: Yeah. Oh yes. We want to find a very specific approach on the original material, which I am a huge fan of. I read that book like 10 times already. I’ll tell you a story actually, I first read it when I was 14 or 15, I guess, with the first volume of DUNE. A few months later I bought MESSIAH and then a few months later I bought another one, because I couldn’t buy the whole collection at once since I didn’t have the money for that. But I remember every time I would buy the next volume I was reading the previous ones. Capone: You would start from the beginning and build up to the new one? PM: Yes, so by the time I bought number six, CHAPTERHOUSE, I had read the first one six times. Capone: I did the same thing with Stephen King’s DARK TOWER books. Every time I knew he had a new one coming out I would go back to the beginning and read again. PM: Yeah, that's fun because you reenter the universe, you know? And when the David Lynch movie came out, I saw it and was like “Oh, I don't remember that.” So, I read it again, so that was like seven times, and since I got into it becoming a potential project I’ve read it three times already, so yeah 10 or 11 times now. Because I was such a hardcore fan, I don’t want to disappoint the fans. It’s touchy. I fully understand that it’s challenging and it’s touchy. I really don’t want to disappoint the guys who love the DUNE books as much as I do. I think the Peter Berg script that I had was a little bit too far away from what I think we expected, in my opinion. It was a good script, but it was not where I wanted to go. So we are starting again with another vision, and I think something that will be very respectful to the original material. Capone: Are you working with somebody else on the adaptation, or have you not decided that yet? PM: We have decided on a writer, which I cannot tell you today. Capone: Ah, come on… [Both Laugh] PM: It will be official next week. Capone: Is it a writer who’s name we might recognize? PM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Capone: Okay. You mentioned the Lynch film, and obviously a lot of people like the film, Although as a faithful adaptation, as you said, it’s not. Are there elements from that that you think you will borrow from, or are you just going to start as if that one didn’t exist? PM: Exactly. It’s not a remake of the movie, it’s a reboot of the book or whatever you might call it, but it’s not a remake of that movie and we aren’t going to take anything. I have two visions of that movie. I didn’t appreciate it as a fan of DUNE the book; but as a David Lynch fan, I actually liked it very much and saw it again and again. So the big issue I think or one of the big challenges is in a way because that movie actually--I wouldn’t say “polluted” everybody’s vision of the book, in a good way, you know what I mean? Everybody now--if you talk about Paul Atriede and the worms--everybody sees David Lynch’s images, and we have to erase that to be able to do something else. Do you know what I mean? Capone: Yes, of course. PM: So people don’t refer to the movie, but to the book or to those who haven’t read it, not refer to anything and just discover something new. Capone: Are there certain aspects of that DUNE story that you are most excited about tackling as a filmmaker? PM: It’s so complex that everything is interesting as a filmmaker. It’s a journey. I couldn’t pinpoint right now one specific thing. It’s a huge thing. Actually, one that’s very interesting is the feminine importance, the Bene Gesserit, the mother. It’s all about women actually. Capone: That’s true, yeah. Back to FROM PARIS WITH LOVE for a second, by shooting in France, can you get away with a lot more in terms of the dangerous stunts than you could if you shot it in the United States, for example? PM: I guess. I never had to tackle very much with the U.S. rules, but I probably would have more issues, yes. I think it’s kind of the same job everywhere. As long as you do things that are safe and ensure that the actors and personnel are safe, you can do whatever you want. The rule is one thing, the safety is the universal. “Is it dangerous? Yes, okay let’s do it a different way.” Now I never was so much familiar with American relations on that matter, but I do understand that it might be a little stricter, but I don’t know. Capone: Did you still operate the camera yourself on this new film? PM: Yes. Capone: Liam Neeson called your style “controlled chaos.” Do you know what he means? PM: [big laugh] I don’t know, but I’ll take it as a compliment. Capone: He meant it as a compliment for sure. He sad it was an energy that he had never experienced on an action film before. PM: I think what I like in still operating is that it gives you the freedom to change your mind and to adapt without having to wait for the other take and asking someone else to do it. When you first view the performance of the actors. If you feel like you should move a little bit or go tighter or whatever, you adjust immediately, and when you see that from the outside it looks like chaos and random, but it’s just a reaction to what you see and what you feel would be better. I guess that’s why I love keeping the camera in my hand, other than giving to somebody else. I can adjust immediately without asking for someone to do it and then lose time and lose the momentum. Maybe on the next take, the actors will do the action a little different, so it wouldn’t fit, so it just gives you that freedom. Capone: I noticed just coming out in this country now, the sequel to DISTRICT B13 is coming out. Was there ever a discussion about you directing it? PM: There was actually, and when they started production, I wasn’t available. Capone: I figured it was the schedule. PM: I can’t remember if it was when I was finishing TAKEN or if I was starting this one, but it was just a scheduling thing. I couldn’t make it. Capone: So you sound like you aren’t even 100 percent sure though that DUNE is the next thing you are doing. It seems likely, but… PM: With me? You never know. It’s a big thing, so you have to have the script right and then cast it and it’s complex, so I hope it is, honestly. Capone: You tend to work pretty fast, but this one sounds like it’s going to take some time. PM: [laughs] It's a bigger one; it will take a while. It’s a process I think. Capone: It's very different than Luc handing you the script, and that part doesn’t take as long as DUNE clearly is going to in the script-writing process. PM: Yeah, it’s a bit different. The Luc Besson approach makes it very possible, because it goes pretty fast, you are right. He has the script and he knows if we can do it now, “Okay, let’s go!” We jump into it. The studio process might be a little longer. Capone: All right, thanks a lot. I’m looking forward to whatever you have got coming up. We saw DISTRICT B13 at Butt-Numb-a-Thon a few years back. That was my first exposure to you as a director and if kind of blew everybody away. Anyway, thanks a lot. PM: Well, thank you. See you soon. Bye.
-- Capone therealcapone@aintitcoolmail.com Follow Me On Twitter



Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 1, 2010, 10:24 a.m. CST

    GTFO CHEESE EATING RETREAT MONKEY.

    by Zahaladeen

    THAT IS ALL.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Also...

    by Zahaladeen

    ...your movies are mediocre. If you bollocks Dune you'll be an international pariah and large, feral canines will be set upon your genitals.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 10:44 a.m. CST

    "Back to From Paris With Love for a second"..

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    FUCK! Dude, nobody gives a flying rat's ass about From Paris with Bald Babarino! OK? You were getting some interesting stuff on his take of Dune and you just KILL IT! JESUS CHRIST!

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Give this guy Bond NOW!!!!!!!!

    by Drsambeckett1984

    Taken was the Best Bond movie never made.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the Dune update

    by Baron_Moritani

    Thanks to Capone for making sure we got our Dune update from Pierre Morel. I am encouraged that we have a more distinguished director working on the project now and am glad that he is taking his time working on that script. That script will be most important in at last ensuring a great Dune film. I also agree with Zahaladeen, albeit in a less descriptive way.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 10:47 a.m. CST

    He's a huge fan of Dune.

    by BooBoosDaddy

    He read it 10 times. Didn't Brett Fuckner say he was a huge fan of Superman (when he was attached) and even had Action Comics 1 framed on his wall(as a qualification?) You know what would make me believe this director is actually a fan? Make a Dune movie that is true to the "unfilmable" book. So far, it's marketing hyperbole.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:13 a.m. CST

    You didn't ask about him and Travolta taking a

    by skimn

    dump on Pulp Fiction with the "I have one vice..a royale with cheese...yuk yuk yuk" line...

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:38 a.m. CST

    From Paris With Love looks like utter garbage

    by Astrogated

    I have no hopes for the upcoming version of Dune. Maybe in 10 years they'll get a qualified director (Tarsem) to reboot it a second time and we'll get a solid telling of it.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:39 a.m. CST

    Bene Gesserit

    by Zatoichi

    I am glad he knows how important they are. All of the other attempts have under used them. Still I am worried about this project, I hope he can pull it off.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:43 a.m. CST

    hardly pressed him for the writer scoop

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    ahh come on tell us...no. okay then. damn fine investigative journalism there.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:51 a.m. CST

    duncan idaho

    by AnUsulDarkley

    Duncan is a central character. The dinner table conversation is important. Pauls first kill. Jessica becoming Sayyadina of the Fremen. Duncan's death needs to be correct. I love all the books and I am excited about this.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Astrogated...

    by Brundlefly

    "Maybe in 10 years they'll get a qualified director (Tarsem) to reboot it a second time and we'll get a solid telling of it." What are you, fucking high? Tarseem is a mediocre music video director. He's no more or less 'qualified' than Morel. I say fuck it, give the dude a chance and let's see if he can pull off a half decent adaptation. Hopefully it won't be 'Chronicles of Riddick redux'.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 1:10 p.m. CST

    He made one remark...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...about the book that was specific enough to matter, and he got it more or less right. That's the only sign in the interview, and it was both a good one and no more useful than what you could read from the bottom of your teaccup in terms of telling you whether the movie has a shot. <p> Actually, there was one other thing. He's never worked directly with the big studio boys before. And that is an absolutely dreadful sign.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Morel does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Really promising director.<p> Pierre, if you happen to read this then i'll echo the sentiment above - you should definitely direct a Bond movie. The material's a perfect fit for you.<p> Get 'your people' talking to the 'Bond people' and make that thing happen!

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 2:02 p.m. CST

    Tarsem

    by Omar B

    I'm also in the Tarsem camp on this one, but I'm interested to see what Morel can bring to it.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 2:27 p.m. CST

    If I were the casting director...

    by SunTzu77

    DUNE <br> Duke Leto Atreides - Liam Neeson <br> Lady Jessica Atreides - Lena Olin <br> Muad'Dib - Chris Pine <br> Chani - Antje Traue <br> Baron Vladimir Harkonnen - Ray Winstone <br> Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen - Ben Foster <br>

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Wow, Tarsem....

    by westie

    Hadn';t thought about him for it....imagine the visuals and the costumes. I could see him doing a great job....and Sun Tzu...like the casting. Ben Foster as Feyd rautha, nobody does a young brooding psycho lately like Foster.......

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 3:28 p.m. CST

    sounds like he would make a great Dune

    by pipergates

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST

    SunTzu77

    by BooBoosDaddy

    I totally agree with you on the casting. One of the big things that bugged me about the SciFi series was bland Bill Hurt as Leto. The Duke is supposed to command allegiance simply by his presence--not command narcolepsy as he walks into a room. Neeson could pull that off. And Pine is a great choice, too.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 3:35 p.m. CST

    "Back to From Paris With Love for a second"

    by CENOBITE

    wait... WHAT?! DEAR GOD!!! NO, DUDE, NO. It's like having Selma Hayek offering to give you an oiled "pizuri" of a lifetime and all you want to do is talk about her shoes.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 3:47 p.m. CST

    Tarsem for Worms of the Earth

    by BranMakMorn

    He can revisit the Chiaroscuro inspired early work and combine it with his inspired art design. Too late for Conan.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Tarsem should only be a Cinematographer

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    He EXCELS at composition, lighting and capturing beautiful imagery. He's just not good at, well, everything else.</p><p>Being a Director mostly focuses on the "everything else".

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Well hell,

    by Lornsorrow

    I'm looking forward to From Paris With Love! I think its going to be a blast. Don't care what the hatters here say. Travolta makes me laugh HA HA! It looks like a lot of fun. Screw the negativity.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 4:38 p.m. CST

    The trouble with filming Dune

    by Mazzer

    is that it's easy to get distracted by the scale, alienation, and complexity of its world. I think that Lynch's film and the TV mini series each got distracted in different ways, but ultimately they both failed to present a drama with characters we care much about.<p> Starting off with the objective of "pleasing fan expectations" isn't necessarily a good thing if it means being a slave to the book. I think that this time we need a movie focused on the main characters, played by good actors. The book has so much other baggage that could drag the film down.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Oh wait!!!

    by Lornsorrow

    What was I thinking! We need yet another version of DUNE!! Why? So all the mad hatters come come out after they see a trailer and say "That's SHIT!" Do another Dune! Lets give some more hate for it! Yeah!

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 5:20 p.m. CST

    From Paris With Love = Rush Hour 3 but with Caucasians

    by LiquidLunch

    and not nearly as good, which is not saying much. Travolta = Chris Tucker. Jonathan Rhys Meyers = Jackie Chan. It currently has a Rotten Tomatoe rank of 13%. Is Pierre Morel really who we want to see direct DUNE?

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 5:40 p.m. CST

    I disagree!

    by Citizen Sane

    If he is that close to the source material, than he is not the perfect director for the new Dune adaptation. Especially with these dense and articulate manuscripts, he will not be able to have the proper objective viewpoint to make the material accessible to most of the audience. This will most likely result in a colossal failure, especially if he casts the over stoic Liam Neeson or the ridiculous John revolting (Oops, I mean Travolta).

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 7:13 p.m. CST

    Taken was Rubbish

    by D o o d

    the whole film is just a mess!

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 7:34 p.m. CST

    Pressing Morel on DUNE writer

    by Capone

    I'd really love to know what you guys think I should have asked him more than I did. He made it really clear that he couldn't tell me; I asked him if it was a writer whose name we would not ("Yes"); and he made it clear we'll know the writer's name this week. Clearly Paramount has a plan to announce the name formally soon--end of story. Not quite sure how that "kills it." There's more here about his take on DUNE than I've seen just about anywhere else so far.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 8:29 p.m. CST

    but you didn't ask him

    by HEADGEEK

    "Will we get more Sand Penises?"

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 8:40 p.m. CST

    Jesus! I gotta wait til the end of the week! WTF!

    by MacReady452

    *smashes fist into porn generating grievance machine*

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Agreement w/Citizen Sane

    by MCVamp

    Being too slavish to the source material will have a "Watchmen" effect on DUNE. Inner monologue is all well and good for a novel. In film it should be used very sparingly. Even the Lynch version overdid it. Good actors under a good director should be able to convey a good portion of a character's inner thoughts through expression and action. Is there room for a little "thoughts" dialogue? Maybe. But I guarantee it isn't necessary...unless the script is so poorly written that there isn't any other way to properly explain the action onscreen. That would be a failure. Crossing my fingers though, as Dune is perhaps the greatest science fiction novel ever. If it's going to be filmed again, I hope it's more worthy than the interesting but ultimately way, way off base Lynch version (which I like, just not as a true DUNE.)

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 9:30 p.m. CST

    Agreement w/Citizen Sane

    by MCVamp

    Being too slavish to the source material will have a "Watchmen" effect on DUNE. Inner monologue is all well and good for a novel. In film it should be used very sparingly. Even the Lynch version overdid it. Good actors under a good director should be able to convey a good portion of a character's inner thoughts through expression and action. Is there room for a little "thoughts" dialogue? Maybe. But I guarantee it isn't necessary...unless the script is so poorly written that there isn't any other way to properly explain the action onscreen. That would be a failure. Crossing my fingers though, as Dune is perhaps the greatest science fiction novel ever. If it's going to be filmed again, I hope it's more worthy than the interesting but ultimately way, way off base Lynch version (which I like, just not as a true DUNE.)

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 9:58 p.m. CST

    "Let's stop talking about the only reason anyone will even read

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    "and let's go back to the dripping diaper not even Johnny T's mnother can stomach watching the trailer for"</p><p>THAT'S where you screwed ther pooch Capone. It was just inexplicable.</p><p>That's like getting Johnathan Nolan talking about the next Batman movie, and you interrupt him to ask about his last bowel movement!

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 10:01 p.m. CST

    As for not pressing him on the writer's name...

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    I agree that's a stupid point. What were you supposed to do, hold your breath until he told you?</p><p>But again, when you've got a Marlin on the line, don't throw the fucking pole in the water because it suddenly strikes you to catch a sardine!

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 10:11 p.m. CST

    "Dune is actually all about the psychic bond of women..."

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    Capone: Yeah, whatever. But back to your asshole for a second. Have you ever stuck your finger up there?</p><p>Morel: *laughs nervously* What?</p><p>Capone: How many knuckles have you gotten up there?</p><p>Morel: Look, I was trying to tell you what I think the key of a Dune movie would be...</p><p>Capone: Yes but I'm way more interested in if you've ever tickled your own prostate.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 10:51 p.m. CST

    REVENGE_of_FETT

    by MacReady452

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. That actually brought tears to my eyes I laughed so hard.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:12 p.m. CST

    Great interview. And actually...

    by Jaka

    ...I was interested in the "From Paris" part of the interview. I'm one of those people who was surprised by how much I enjoyed Taken. It's not perfect, but the pacing is great, I loved how it was shot and that it didn't feel like every other action movie I've ever seen. From Paris also doesn't give much away from the previews I've seen. Just that it's got a nutty, violent John Travolta blowing shit up. So getting a better idea of the concept/style of this film and how it's different from Taken was actually cool. That being said, good to hear more about Dune, too. More than anything it's good to hear that he has an awareness of audience expectations and how much they want the new movie to respect the original material. Nothing I hate more than the "this is my vision (not version, VISION) of the story" reasoning from a director. While that's all well and good, when you're adapting a story known and loved by multiple generations it doesn't hold up so well when the end product is a steaming pile of crap. So like I said, it's good to hear him express that he knows how much people love the story and don't want another Lynchian attempt at a "vision". Just do a kick ass adaptation and people will love it (you) forever.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:17 p.m. CST

    Being too close to the source material

    by Jaka

    That's not really a problem so much when he's writing it with somebody else and has to get studio permission to spend the money. My hope would simply be that he's familiar enough with the material to put his foot down if the studio/writer tries to remove something important or add something that isn't there.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:20 p.m. CST

    I love Dune

    by Willie Conway

    ...and I'll be happy just to see it on the big screen again. I don't know who would be the right director but really, anybody who gives it a shot is ok in my book. Particularly if it's someone who's read the damn thing. Oh, and here's my tip for a strangely awesome experience with the book: Try listening to The Prodigy's "Music for the Jilted Generation" while you read. I have no clue why but it's a great fit. The assassinition attempt on Paul and "Break and Enter" are a fantastic match.

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Music for the Jilted Generation

    by Jaka

    Great fuckin' album. Don't know if I could read anything while listening to it, though. I'd just want to jump up and dance around the room. Break and Enter particularly. That's a dancer right there!

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Jaka

    by Willie Conway

    I discovered the combo by coincidence (loooong train ride) and the pacing of the book and the album just gel. It brings a different energy to the story, takes it away from the medieval feeling, and makes it feel very, well, kick ass. Not that Dune really needed that but still... And for what it's worth, the album is my #1 from the 90s. "Nevermind" what?

  • Feb. 1, 2010, 11:49 p.m. CST

    Willie Conway continued...

    by Jaka

    I love Nevermind, but electronic music of all types has been my "thing" since the winter of 90/91. That being the case, I would probably place 50 albums ahead of Nevermind on my own personal enjoyment list. I couldn't argue that very many of them were more important than Nevermind. Because I lived the 80's and I remember the cultural change that Nevermind caused overnight. But I will forever be amazed by people who discovered and fell in love with the Prodigy during their Fat of the Land heyday. I'd seen them live five times before that album was ever released. IMO, Experience and Jilted both shit all over that album. I still love both of those albums as they still instantly raise my pulse rate (without drugs! lol).

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 12:12 a.m. CST

    I hear a French accent in my head when I read his answers

    by OutlawsDelejos

    It's really fucking distracting, and possibly indicative of tumor growing in my brain.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 12:34 a.m. CST

    OutlawsDelejos

    by Jaka

    Then we have twin tumors.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 1:08 a.m. CST

    The truth is...

    by Citizen Sane

    ... I do not see how any Dune adaptation will be able to do the mythos justice without all but abandoning movie audiences. Hopefully this writer will be able to approach the material from a fresh perspective without somehow losing the depth and intricacies of these amazing stories. I thought that the miniseries was going to give the saga the breadth that was required for a proper exploration or dissertation, but look how that turned out. I ideally would love to see them do with it what Jackson accomplished with LOTR, but I am going err on the side of caution with this one.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 2:09 a.m. CST

    It's not a tumour!

    by white_vader

    (but that bit's in an Austrian accent)

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 5:53 a.m. CST

    I don't believe Dune can be filmed....

    by Rameses

    and work as a critical and commercial success.lord of the rings was considered unfilmable , but that was more to do with scope and scale .It's actual story isn't *that* complex .The characters are easy to relate to and the world they live in , not that different from ours.Dunes problems arise from it's sprawling concepts ,and a story that becomes too spiritual to depict on film.The waters of life ,are confusing in the book and on screen the concept is visually impossible to take in .Both the film and miniseries , just seem to descend into random bollocks ,past the midway point once the Fremen turn up and their rituals start.It feels like everything needs an explaination.As an earlier talbacker said , distraction seems to be a main problem as well.The book is very sparse in it's descriptions of the buildings , costumes and characters.Bringing that world visually to life , seems to just override the story telling.The need to make it commercial , means that the few action scenes will have to be beefed up ,leaving less time for characters.Perhaps some books are best left as books .They've had two attempts at adapting this and both have been interesting failures.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 8:26 a.m. CST

    i think we are all expecting too much.

    by Gatsbys West Egg Omlet

    i am a fan, a giant fan, of the first 3 books of the Dune series, and there is nothing i'd rather see than a full on Pete Jackson LOTR treatment done with them, but this isn't going to be that. and thats fine, too.<p>this will be all the action scenes done with cool effects. cool sandworm design and if we're lucky some flapping thopters. what its not going to be is 8 hours of internal monologue and self reflection.<p>and again, thats fine. like the Potter movies, like most adaptations from books, this will be cliff's notes. go into this thinking that and i think we'll all be a little happier with the outcome.<p>(i'll try to keep my rabid fanboy nature down, too)

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 9:03 a.m. CST

    ANYTHING can be filmed

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    It doesn't necesarily have to include everything from the book, only what is required to convey the essence of the story. Perrhaps, like LOTR, a plot element needs to be invented to get a point across that took much longer in the book.</p><p>I think a fundamental "problem" with translating Dune to the screen is all the Shakespearian subterfuge. That doesn't really lend itself to a big, visual sci fi film. In fact, Dune is sort of soap-operah-ey in that regard. That's perfect for TV, but really slows things down on the big screen.</p><p>For film, motivations needs to be simplified and actions need to be more direct. Otherwise the audience starts getting confused and bored.</p><p>Exposition needs to be compressed instead of sprinkled throughout. That's why having a "final reveal" works well in films. For Dune, the besat thing they can do is to NOT be tempted to keep going back for dialogue scenes of the Haarkonen's plotting. I suggest having them be a more myserious enemy until the end of the film when "all is revealed". It might also be a good idea to leave the Emperor out of the film entirely because that opens up a whole other can of worms and distracts from the main plot.</p><p>Just imagine LOTR if we kept cutting back to Sauron plotting to overthrow Middle Earth. How distracting and boring that would have been!People will say "We need to develop the bad guy". To that I say "BULLSHIT!" We have somewhere around 12 hours of film for LOTR and we know FUCK ALL about Sauron and yet he comes across as extremely menacing; perhaps BECUASE we know so little about him. Make the Haarkonen like that and you will have a FAR tighter story that keeps the emphasis where it belongs, on the Atreides and the Bene Gesurate.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 9:24 a.m. CST

    How to make DUNE work:

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    Don't show any other perspective but Paul Atreides. Make it HIS story exclusively. No scenes without him present, No Haarkonen at all, until the final faceoff with Fayd. That scene should be laced with tension because it should be the first time we see ANY Haarkonen, except for fully armored troops in the fall of House Atreides.</p><p>The two coolest parts of Lynch's Dune were the worms and the stillsuits. I don't think a remake should stray too far from those designs.</p><p>The filmmakers shouldn't ignore the Osama Bin Laden connection, they should embrace it. Make the Haarkonen feel like America, make Arrakis feel like Iraq, make the Fremen feel like the Bedoins they are based on.</p><p>We really need to feel Paul come into his own. We need to make that emotional journey with him so that when he gets his revenge, it feels triumphant and justified...if a little icky.</p><p>Dune is the DARK Star Wars. This isn't going to be a feel-good family adventure film, it's just not possible. So don't try and force it into that mold.</p><p>By the way, just because all that superfluous stuff shouldn't be in the theatrical version doesn't mean it shouldn't be filmed. It can come out later as a 4 hour director's cut or something.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 9:45 a.m. CST

    he's gonna put the Ordos in his Dune version.

    by Gorgomel

    This guy knows shit about Frank Herbert's novel.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 9:59 a.m. CST

    By the way, why hasn't DUNE been made into a TV series?

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    I'm not counting the TV movies on SciFi Channel. But as I was saying, all the intrigue and back-stabbing would work perfectly as a 1 hour drama series. That way you could spend plenty of time with all the characters fleshing out their motivations and it wouldn't seem "boring" like it would ina feature film.</p><p>The pilot episode could consist of the Atreides royal family on their hopme planet and winnig the bid to manage the spice mining on Arrakis. The pilot would end with them coming out of hyperspace and seeing Arrakis for the first time.</p><p>The second episode would focus on the Haarkonen and end with the Atreides landing on Arrakis, etc. Each season would be a subsequent book.</p><p>They just need to take their time and do really cool effects. TV effects have come a long way and are practically feature quality now.</p><p>A Dune series would be geek paradise!

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Fett.

    by Gatsbys West Egg Omlet

    while i agree with your Dune TV idea, i have to disagree with your "only show Paul in the movie" thing. without the plotting of the Harkonnen, there is no way to build tension with the Atreides/ Frememn camp. one issue with Lynch's version is the complete lack of buildup of Feyd and Paul's duel. all of a sudden Sting shows up in a diaper and we're supposed to be scared? we need the antagonists to give the protagonists something to work against. its how storytelling usually works.<p>and how would the whole thing wrap up without the emperor being involved? Paul's path is directly linked to taking that title. we need to see Shaddam before he shows up on Dune, if only to know that such a person and such a position exist.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 11:36 a.m. CST

    aaannnddd

    by Gatsbys West Egg Omlet

    i can't wait to see the nukes go off and blow the shield wall and have the worms and riders come through.<p>action director + this scene = yay!

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 11:52 a.m. CST

    I think most people agree...

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    That The Emperor and Darth Vader were more imposing in the OT when we knew nothing about them. We don't need an hour of dialogue to view Vader as the ultimate badass when he boards the Tantive IV and starts strangling that rebel. I think Feyd could do the same thing at the end of a Dune film.</p><p>Eh, my two cents.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 4:09 p.m. CST

    Arrakis = Iraq, spice = oil

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    This is a confirmed fact. The book was written before Osama Bin Laden, but Paul Atreides is essentially the same character. A royal prince from another country that organizes the resistance of the local bedoins into a fierce collection of guerilla fighters who practically deitize him. That doesn't sound like Osama Bin Laden to you?,</p><p>In the special features of the 2-disc set they talk about this so it's not like I'm making up the connection.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 5:48 p.m. CST

    You must be conservative...

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    Because conservatives always freak the fuck out about social relevancy.</p><p>"Stop quoting facts! I want to live my life with my headd up my ass!"</p><p>Heh heh, you guys crack me up. :)

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 5:50 p.m. CST

    Herbert did study the middle east to write DUNE

    by CENOBITE

    he got many of his names for the book from existing or slightly changing existing Arabic. http://tinyurl.com/yvdabe

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 5:56 p.m. CST

    DUNE was WRITTEN as political allegory!

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    Frank herbert's friends and family SAY SO on the 2 disc set! "Arrakis" is a play on the name "Iraq"...it just IS, as testament by his friends and family. Spice is an allegory for oil...it just IS as testatemnt by his friends and family. He was reflecting on the middle east and how oil is so sought after by foreign powers. That's just a FACT Jack. Can't deal with the facts? Go plug your ears and scream "LA LA LA LA!" all you want, but that won't change these FACTS. You guys are always trying to shout down things you don't like, as if you can make it all just go away. What amusing little creatures you are.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Whether it's America vs. iraq...

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    or Russia vs. Iran, or Great Britain vs. Iraq (as it was witten to reflect), it's all the same shit. Making material socially relevant by using updated references based on pretty much the exact same substance, may not be something you want, but that doesn't make it bad or wrong.</p><p>Heaven forbid you should actually consider world events while watching your sci fi!

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 8:36 p.m. CST

    I'll say it again, slowly...

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    Paul Atreides: Prince from royal family unites with bedoins displaced by greedy empire that wants to steal their natural resources. He unites them and leads them against the invaders. he is deified by the people.</p><p>Osama Bin Laden: Paul Atreides: Prince from royal family unites with bedoins displaced by greedy empire that wants to steal their natural resources. He unites them and leads them against the invaders. he is deified by the people.</p><p>And for the record numbnuts, I'm not talking about 9/11 Bin Laden, I'm talking about Afghanistan Bin Laden. I'm sure you're sitting there drooling on yourself because you have absolutely no knowledge of Middle East history. Perhaps that's because you run from any sort of entertainment with a historical context to it. You might want to work on that.

  • Feb. 2, 2010, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Considering the two towers...

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    Were Sauron's and Saruman's towers, castles seperated by hundreds of miles.....I don't see how they could possibly be anything remotely like the World Trade Center buildings. By the way, did you protest that movie for needlessly referring to 9/11? or did you think that would have been a really fucking stupid complaint? But somehow it's perfectly logical to bring it up now? I think you were right the first time, it's really fucking stupid.</p><p>You know, I think perhaps you should actually watch the special features on that set so you can, you know, have a fucking about what you are bitching about. Just a suggestion. I'm sure you'll just keep aimlessly babbling instead.

  • Feb. 5, 2010, 11:38 p.m. CST

    Dune is finally coming to Blu-ray

    by white_vader

    Hooray! Can't wait to see that 3rd stage Guild slug in HD!

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