After four years of development, Paramount has given up the rights to adapting Frank Herbert’s best-selling sci-fi novel Dune. The studio and the rights holders came to a mutual agreement to let the rights lapse, relieving the studio of trying to get the film made. Director Peter Berg (Hancock) was originally attached to direct, but subsequently dropped out. A year ago, Taken director Pierre Morel signed on to take over directorial duties, with screenwriter Chase Palmer (also from Taken) rewriting a previous draft of the script by Josh Zetumer (Quantum of Solace). Richard P. Rubinstein, who controls the rights to Dune had this to say via Deadline:
“Paramount’s option has expired and we couldn’t reach an agreement. I’m going to look at my options, and whether I wind up taking the script we developed in turnaround, or start over, I’m not sure yet.”
Hit the jump for what this means for Dune and more on Rubinstein’s plans moving forward.
Frank Herbert’s novel was previously adapted into a 1984 film by David Lynch and a mini-series for Syfy. The sci-fi classic tells the story of the interplanetary battle for the desert planet Arrakis. Rubenstein boils the failure of Paramount to move the film into production down to budgetary issues. He sounds optimistic about the future of Dune, characterizing Paramount’s decision to walk away as simply another set-back:
“Sure, it’s frustrating, how long this has taken, but most of what I’ve done that worked out well over the years, like the miniseries The Stand, took a long time. Since I know what I want, eventually, I’ll find someone who’ll agree with me. What I like is that talent has interesting things to say on how they would approach it.”
While Rubinstein says that Dune currently has “no commitments or attachments,” Deadline says that Rubinstein and producer Kevin Misher were both fond of Morel and Palmer’s take on the material, with the two cranking out a quality script that successfully condensed the thick source material into feature length. Rubinstein says that he’ll probably re-approach the duo once he’s able to secure financing for the flick.