- Denis Villeneuve insisted on filming “Dune” in real-life locations, according to a new interview.
- Villeneuve told the New York Times that real landscapes were essential for his “mental sanity.”
- The production team even used Google Earth to find desert locations for the film.
Denis Villeneuve insisted on filming “Dune” in real-life locations – and without the use of green screens – for his “mental sanity.”
The “Blade Runner 2049” director told the New York Times that he intentionally chose real filming locations in order to “inspire myself to find back that feeling I was looking for of isolation, of introspection,” as well as for his mental wellbeing.
Villeneuve also wanted to make sure that the actors in the film (including Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, and Josh Brolin) were able to feel grounded in their settings – something that he believes can’t happen with superimposed backgrounds.
“You cannot do that with green screens. It’s not possible,” the director said. “Not for me. Maybe some people can, but not me.”
Even though the cinematographer for “Dune” had previously worked on the “The Mandalorian” (which frequently employs green screens to create different worlds), Villeneuve was adamant that “Dune” be filmed in real locations, and according to the Times spent days flying in helicopters over the desert looking for potential spots.
And production designer Patrice Villette told the New York Times that the team used Google Earth to help scout locations as well.
The rocky, desert landscape of the planet Arrakis – where most of “Dune” takes place – was difficult to find, but they eventually settled on two locations: the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, and the Rub’ Al Khali desert in Abu Dhabi.
“Dune” premieres October 22 in theaters and on HBO Max. You can watch the trailer below.
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