On Location: How 'Dune' Used Abu Dhabi's Desert and Jordan's Wadi Rum to Create Arrakis

Asia's Tech News Daily

On Location: How 'Dune' Used Abu Dhabi's Desert and Jordan's Wadi Rum to Create Arrakis
© Everett

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Moviegoers have been waiting a long time for the latest reimagining of Dune to hit the silver screens. Originally set to release in November 2020, the premiere has been pushed back at least three times, and finally makes it to theaters and streaming on HBOMax October 22. But production designer Patrice Vermette has been waiting years for the movie—starring Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and more—to come to fruition, considering he started traveling to scout for filming locations for Dune in 2018.

The film, which takes place primarily on a desert planet called Arrakis, was shot in four locations: Wadi Rum in Jordan, the desert outside of Abu Dhabi, the northwest coast of Norway, and the soundstages of Origo Studio in Budapest. “Without those four places, there is no Dune,” Vermette says.

To learn how the crew mashed up two deserts to create the planet Arrakis, staying at an Anantara resort outside Abu Dhabi, and which sets you can actually visit, we sat down with Vermette himself to chat all things Dune.

On Location: How 'Dune' Used Abu Dhabi's Desert and Jordan's Wadi Rum to Create Arrakis
© Everett Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in Dune, which filmed its desert scenes in Jordan and the UAE.

What went into picking the perfect desert—or deserts—to serve as Arrakis?

We needed to find a desert that wouldn’t be romantic or beautiful or like a postcard. It needed to be a place that was scary—the kind of desert where if you’re stranded there, it’s death for sure. We needed it to have a violence to it.

We started the process by traveling through Google, looking at the different deserts of the world. We looked at amazing deserts in Chile, in Iran, in Chad, in Yemen, in Libya. But I’m naming countries that are very difficult to access for film production. But [the director] Denis [Villeneuve] had shot a film called Incendies in Jordan and remembered going to Wadi Rum. We’re reading the script, and we realized, yes, there’s dunes—but there are also a lot of rock formations. And we found that the location that gave us the most amazing choices in rock formation was the deserts of Wadi Rum and Wadi Araba in Jordan. There’s just a presence there, an aura. You feel very, very, very small in the universe when you’re there, and just the sound of the wind between those rocks is just breathtaking.

But even if Jordan worked out for the storytelling, we also needed a place that had intense sand dunes. We were trying to find a place that had 360 degrees of dunes. So in the sand dune world, we had selected Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Morocco—those were the ones that we wanted to see for ourselves. And as soon as we scouted the desert in Abu Dhabi, we were like, this is the place.

Where we were was about a three-hour drive from the [Abu Dhabi] airport and we stayed in a resort in the middle of the desert called Qasr Al Sarab. Traveling from the hotel to the filming location was like going right outside the resort’s door. It was fantastic.

The main city on Arrakis was built with CGI, but were there any real life destinations that inspired how it looked?

Absolutely not. For Arrakis, I had a mix of references that I used: World War Two bunkers, Ziggurat architecture, Mayan architecture. It was all influenced by the condition and elements of Arrakis, like the wind that goes at 850 kilometers an hour, as mentioned in the book, and the reality of sandworms. So the city came out of our imagination. There’s no real there’s no place like that.

Both visually and in the storyline, the planet Caladan is the complete opposite of Arrakis. What locations did you use to kind of create that difference?

Norway. Very early, I said that Norway—the northern part of Norway, not the fjords, but the seaside—would be interesting to explore. We had great location scouts in Norway based in Alesund and we ended up shooting in the area of Kråkenes. When I first scouted the region, it was during a week in the year with the least amount of sunlight—like the week of December 21. There were only like four hours of sunlight a day and the sun was always very, very low. It was such dramatic light on those islands and the cliff sides—it was just spectacular. But we ended up shooting close to the longest daylight period of the year, in August 2019. The light conditions were totally different, so different that it was too sunny for the aerial photography and we had to go back and do all the aerial shots that October.

On Location: How 'Dune' Used Abu Dhabi's Desert and Jordan's Wadi Rum to Create Arrakis
© Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures For the planet Caladan, the cast and crew headed to Norway, shown here with a CGI city.

Did you have a favorite location to film—even among any of the interiors your team built out on sound tages?

Wadi Rum and Wadi Araba, I think, spiritually, there’s a power to that place that is just unbelievable. And Norway, because it was just this majestic landscape. I’d like to go back when I’m not working nice, like really travel—especially Norway during the winter. Building-wise, I’m super proud of the architecture on Caladan. We had so much fun. It has this medieval/Japanese influence in the design.

One specific filming location that I just have to get the details on is the drum of a desert room on Arrakis where Paul, played by Timothée Chalamet, Duncan, played by Jason Momoa, and Jessica, played by Rebecca Ferguson escape. Where did you find such an enormous space?

That was straight out of my head. I remember an early meeting with the producers and they were like, Okay, these are really nice drawings that you and your team of concept artists have come up with, but how the hell are we going to do it? It was extremely challenging because of the sheer size of it. The brief from Denis was to give him and the actors as much of an immersive environment as possible—so we weren’t allowed to use green screen. So we actually used this huge open space in between the sound stages at Origo Studio [in Budapest], and we built up to 20 feet of real set elements—like part of the circular room—and then had fabric to create the space. We created the shadows over the space by rigging lines between the stages out of metal wire. And we just covered the ground completely with sand—and had to keep covering it up because it was the rainy season in Budapest. I know at one point that there were people who wanted to shoot me for coming up with this idea because it was so much work, but I really owe a lot to Gergely Rieger, one of the art directors, and Paul Lambert, for the visual effects, for [making it happen.]

Watch Dune in theaters or on HBO Max now.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Police posers rob senior citizen couple of r₹r2.6 lakh in Pune

© Provided by Hindustan Times On Saturday, at 11.30am, two men on a two-wheeler approached the pedestrian couple and told them that they were policemen. (HT PHOTO (Representational image)) In ... Read more »

24-year-old Pune resident duped in online car sale fraud

© Provided by Hindustan Times The Pune police on Saturday, registered a case against a man for duping a 24-year-old Pune resident of ₹36,400 on the pretext of selling a ... Read more »

Brussels: Protest march against Covid restrictions turns violent

© Provided by WION Protests against Covid restrictions in Brussels turned violent on Sunday prompting the police to use water cannons and teargas. The protesters pelted officers with stones and ... Read more »

Considering building your own home? Your 10-step guide to self-building

© Provided by Extra.ie Desperate times call for desperate measures, they say, and anyone contemplating the housing market at this time may by thinking about buying a tract of land ... Read more »

Ernst calls on Biden to be 'very clear and very strong' in call with Putin as US concerns grow over Russian military activity near Ukraine

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst on Sunday urged President Joe Biden to be “very clear and very strong” in his upcoming call with Russian President Vladimir Putin as US officials grow ... Read more »

Man arrested on charges of shooting and killing woman

RICHMOND, Ind. — A man was arrested Saturday on charges he shot and killed a woman whose body was found in Richmond on Friday afternoon. Vincent Joel Allen Hoffman, 24, ... Read more »

Looks fast, feels faster - why the speed gun is only part of the story

© Patrick Hamilton / © AFP/Getty Images Shubman Gill ducks a Pat Cummins bouncer during India’s Test tour of Australia in 2020-21 Patrick Hamilton / © AFP/Getty Images South Africa’s ... Read more »

F1 unites in memory of the inspirational Frank Williams

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Formula One united in tribute Sunday to Frank Williams, the much-loved and inspirational founder of the F1 team bearing his name who died last weekend. ... Read more »

California parents knowingly sent their COVID positive child to school, causing outbreak

CORTE MADERA, Calif. — Northern California parents knowingly sent their COVID-19 positive child and a sibling to school last month in violation of isolation and quarantine rules, causing a coronavirus ... Read more »

'I would land before him': Tom Holland and Zendaya joke about their height difference in 'Spider-Man' stunt

© Provided by INSIDER Tom Holland (L) and Zendaya pose at the after party for the premiere of Sony Pictures’ “Spider-Man: Far From Home” on June 26, 2019 in Hollywood, ... Read more »

Mom and son found murdered in Mbombela home

© Pexels JOHANNESBURG – Police in Mbombela are investigating two cases of murder after a mother (44) and her son (28) were found dead in their home. Police attended the ... Read more »

Mobile library restarts in Afghan capital, delighting children

© AHMAD SAHEL ARMAN Children stand inside a mobile library which opened its doors for the first time since the Taliban’s return to power, in Kabul on December 5, 2021 ... Read more »

'West Side Story': Steven Spielberg Explains Why Rachel Zegler Is the Perfect Maria (Exclusive)

© ET When Steven Spielberg announced his plans to mount a new film adaptation of West Side Story, one thing everyone knew he would need is an amazing cast. A Romeo ... Read more »

The Fosdyke Saga was a brilliant load of tripe

Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Maxine Peake’s rejected idea to write a musical about a “northern tripe dynasty” (Betty Boothroyd musical to chart rise from dancer to Commons Speaker, 2 December) is ... Read more »

UK warned not to replicate Australia's immigration detention centres

Photograph: Reuters Two former detainees in Australia’s notorious offshore immigration detention centres have issued a “dire warning” to UK parliamentarians ahead of a vote to replicate these centres this week. ... Read more »

Deploy the retired to ease GPs' workloads

Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian The continuing requirement for an efficient system to administer Covid vaccinations is currently consuming important NHS manpower that could be more usefully employed delivering essential services ... Read more »

Dismay at UK's offshore detention plans for asylum seekers

Photograph: Lukas Coch/EPA As people who were detained indefinitely in Australia’s offshore camps on Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, and as professionals who were employed there, we are ... Read more »

Safeguarding children needs proper resources

Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian While services designed to protect Arthur Labinjo-Hughes were involved with the family, we do not know yet what could have been done differently to prevent his ... Read more »

Reverse repo status quo needed to give more time for economic recovery to strengthen: Report

© Provided by Zee Business Amid the rising scare from the new coronavirus variant Omicron and ahead of the MPC meet, SBI house economists have urged the central bank to ... Read more »

Google to take on Apple with its first smartwatch, codenamed ‘Rohan'

© Provided by DNA Google is reportedly planning to launch its first smartwatch soon. The product has been codenamed ‘Rohan’. Market analysts expect that Google’s new product will directly compete ... Read more »

Tesla new FSD Beta update to improve object detection

© Provided by The Statesman Tesla new FSD Beta update to improve object detection Elon Musk-owned Tesla has started to push a new Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta software update — ... Read more »

How to beat Hydaelyn in The Mothercrystal in Final Fantasy XIV

© Provided by GamePur Ah, Hydaelyn. If you’re reading this guide, you are likely reading up on how to beat this primal for the first time. Hydaelyn has a few ... Read more »

Fortnite Chapter 3 may have launched, but widespread server issues have players on the outside looking in

© Provided by GamePur Epic surprised Fortnite fans by launching Chapter 3 Season 1 less than 24 hours after the big event that closed the curtains on Chapter 2. Many ... Read more »

Discoms' outstanding dues to gencos rise 1.3% to Rs 1,13,227 crore in December

© Provided by Zee Business Total outstanding dues owed by electricity distribution companies (discoms) to power producers rose 1.3 per cent year-on-year to Rs 1,13,227 crore in December. Discoms owed ... Read more »

Marc Malusis leaves out Maggie Gray in addressing major WFAN shakeup

Three days after WFAN announced the end of “Moose & Maggie” as the station’s midday show, one half of the show addressed the shakeup, without mentioning the other half. On ... Read more »

Congressman Jamie Raskin: ‘I'll never forget the terrible sound of them trying to barrel into the chamber'

He spent 5 January at a graveside service for his son, Tommy, who had taken his own life after years shadowed by depression. He spent 6 January under siege at ... Read more »

Huge controversy as Aston Villa's goal is disallowed for 'foul' on Kasper Schmeichel

© GiveMeSport Jacob Ramsey Aston Villa had a goal chalked off in controversial circumstances against Leicester on Sunday. Steven Gerrard’s side thought they had gone 2-1 ahead when Jacob Ramsey ... Read more »

Loughmore's dual juggernaut halted as Clare champions edge out extra-time battle

© Laszlo Geczo INPHO Loughmore-Castleiney (Tipperary) 0-12 Eoin Brennan reports at Cusack Park CLARE CHAMPIONS ÉIRE Óg finally halted the Loughmore-Castleiney dual juggernaut after a two goal extra-time blitz effectively ... Read more »

Common hails Tiffany Haddish a 'queen'

© Bang Showbiz Common praises Tiffany Haddish Common has hailed ex-girlfriend Tiffany Haddish a “queen”. The pair were reported to have ended their year-long relationship last month but it seems ... Read more »

Senate leader and presidential candidate Bob Dole dies aged 98

© Carolyn Kaster Former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole (Carolyn Kaster/AP) The long-time Kansas senator and Republican nominee for US president Bob Dole has died aged 98. His wife, Elizabeth ... Read more »

72% duels lost: MUFC dud who lost the ball every 3.2 touches has already failed Ralf - opinion

© Provided by Football FanCast 2021-10-16T140559Z_2090971767_UP1EHAG135X8B_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-ENGLAND-LEI-MUN-REPORT Having watched his new suitors defeat Arsenal on Thursday evening from the stands, interim Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick took charge of the Red ... Read more »

‘Don't listen to the hate', ‘Head up' – These QPR fans react to honest message from player

© Provided by Football League World Carabao Cup – Third Round – Queens Park Rangers v Everton Queens Park Rangers fell to a frustrating 2-0 defeat at home to Stoke ... Read more »

Soccer-Rangnick pleased with United's solid start

By Simon Evans © Reuters/PHIL NOBLE Premier League – Manchester United v Crystal Palace MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Manchester United’s new interim manager Ralf Rangnick said he was impressed with ... Read more »

Kennedy Center Honors and its traditions are back once more

The Associated Press2021 Kennedy Center honorees, from left, Justino Díaz, Lorne Michaels, Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, and Berry Gordy pose following the Medallion Ceremony for the 44th annual Kennedy Center ... Read more »

Georgia: Omicron variant of coronavirus detected in state

© Provided by Associated Press Dr. Manjul Shukla transfers Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at a mobile vaccination clinic in Worcester, Mass. As the U.S. ... Read more »

‘Please', ‘All I want', ‘Walks into the team' - These West Ham fans flock to Ex's transfer claim

Flocking to Twitter, these West Ham United have erupted over the latest news involving transfer target and Manchester United star Jesse Lingard. © Provided by Transfer Tavern Jesse Lingard vs ... Read more »

Ralf Rangnick explains why he was surprised by Manchester United performance in first half vs Crystal Palace

Ralf Rangnick was surprised by how well Manchester United adapted to his demands in their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace after only one training session with the squad that lasted ... Read more »

Leigh Griffiths has no reason for Rangers complaint if he can't conduct himself properly by now - Hotline

Celtic were down to the bare bones but a meaty performance at Tannadice saw them flesh out another three points. And the Hoops faithful were delighted to see Tom Rogic’s ... Read more »

Inside Hotel du Louvre Paris - a charming 5-star base ideally located in the heart of the French capital

© Provided by Hello! hotel-du-lourve-exterior Paris is known for its historical landmarks, gourmet cuisine, and haute couture, attracting travellers from across the globe. For those who want to holiday here ... Read more »

Michigan AG offers to investigate school district's actions ahead of shooting

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Sunday that her office has offered to conduct an independent review of the Oxford school district's actions in the lead up to last week's ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic