The following is a fictional letter to filmmaker Denis Villeneuve on the recent announcement of his appointment to adapt the Frank Herbert science-fiction novel, Dune.
Damn you. Damn you.
Blade Runner and Dune were meant to be left alone. We made it thirty years without either one being touched and now…Denis, what you are doing was never meant to be done.
I can’t tell you how important Blade Runner is to me because it’s unreasonably important. I can’t tell you how important Dune is to me, because it’s illogically important. These are two things I love so much, that matter to me so much, that there is no way to properly explain to another person in terms they can relate to. Ok? It's like I'm speaking French to you right now. Er, ok, it's like I'm speaking Russian.
So read my lips in perfect, plain English like I'm talking to you like I would a small child:
Blade Runner was the first movie I knew was perfect. I don’t mean the first perfect movie I saw, ‘cause ok, I saw The Godfather, Citizen Kane, and Chinatown all before I saw Blade Runner. But Blade Runner was the first movie that burrowed its way into my gray matter as what a perfect movie looked, sounded, and felt like. To this day, I can’t think of a movie that confused me so greatly upon my first watch and then engrossed me so deeply upon the second watch. I read the book, Denis, after the movie. I read the book!!!
Dune was the first novel I read that superseded the story on the page and made me look at the world differently (tweenaged novels from my Junior High days do not count). Herbert’s writing’s on Paul Atreides, Arrakis, and the spice melange were about more than the machinations of Houses Harkonnen and Atreides. On a deeper level it carried themes on the nature of markets, ecology, religion, and the function of systems. I honestly took lines like, “The struggle between life elements is the struggle for the free energy of a system.” and applied them to life. Do you know what that does to someone? I've used that line to justify my selfishness during drink mix-ups at Starbucks. I said that to someone as I took their latte, Denis!
Why did it have to be you? You’re so great. You’re a master of atmosphere and tone – exactly the kind of traits to honor and create anew a Blade Runner picture. You’re also a keen observer of human complexity and intrigues, exactly the kind of thing a Dune film requires.
Why you? If it had been someone else, anyone else, I may have had the discipline to stay away, to stay wrapped in my warm blanket of nostalgia. Instead, I’ll have tickets for opening night of both films.
Damn you, Denis. Damn you…
…please do a good job.
Rhys Dowbiggin @Rdowb
Rhys has worked six years in the public relations industry rubbing shoulders with movie stars (who ignored him) to athletes (who tolerated him). He likes tiki-taka football, jelly beans, and arguing with Bruce about everything.