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Old March 2 2014, 11:30 PM   #31
Out Of My Vulcan Mind
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Re: Dune: The TV series

FPAlpha wrote: View Post
And mind you.. the first season of GoT also was not that heavily financed. Only after the show took off like a rocket did it get more money.
The first season had a very big budget by television standards. The success of the show led to subsequent seasons getting even more lavish budgets.
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Old March 3 2014, 12:43 AM   #32
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Re: Dune: The TV series

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I think the first novel is a little too dense to be done justice in a single 10-15 episode season of television (which appears to be standard, these days.) Possibly the thing to do would be to split it up into it's three constituent "books"; 'Dune', 'Muad'Dib', and 'The Prophet'. That give you three seasons, each with an established beginning and end point, with plenty of material in the glossaries to elaborate where needed. More than anything it'd mean Fenring could at last get a significant role as for such an interesting character, he was sadly neglected in both the mini-series and movie.
I like the idea of dividing the novel Dune into three seasons. I think that could work.
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Old March 3 2014, 12:48 AM   #33
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Re: Dune: The TV series

You'd have to massively expand on the first novel with supplementary material to fill three seasons. A straight adaptation would fit comfortably into a single 10-episode season. 10 HBO-length episodes would yield about four hours more screen time than the Director's Cut of the Sci-Fi miniseries.
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Old March 3 2014, 01:21 AM   #34
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Re: Dune: The TV series

Out Of My Vulcan Mind wrote: View Post
^^^
I disagree. There are enough similarities beyond historical sources and the Hero's Journey that I think Martin took quite a few elements from Dune and reworked them into epic fantasy.
Care to elaborate? I genuinely just don't see it.

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Who would be your choice to play the various key characters such as Paul, Jessica, Baron Harkonnen, Gurney or Stilgar?
Calling it right now: Sean Bean as Duke Leto Atredies.

As for the others...well it's usually best for the younger leads (in this case, Paul, Chani, Irulan & Feyd) to be unknowns.

In all seriousness, Leto really needs an established actor with some serious presence in order for his death to have resonance. Plus it's an easy character to get wrong (see: William Hurt) so you need someone with good instincts and a grasp of subtle characterization...actually Sean Bean may not be such a bad idea.

Same goes for whomever plays the Baron as neither Kenneth McMillan nor Ian McNeice's performances--though both worthy in their own right--quite portrayed the cunning intellect and penetrating insight hiding behind the outward appearances of a perverse, psychotic hedonist. Off the top of my head I can't think of anyone with those traits *and* the right physicality for the role.

Bit of a long-shot given her pay grade, but does anyone else think Angelina Jolie would make a *fantastic* Jessica? She has very much the right look, but she's also very physically adept, has a very real maternal nature and has a sharp intellect.

You'd need a veteran actress to play Gaius Helen Mohiam. Sigourney Weaver leaps to mind for a number of reasons. She's about the right age, is tall and imposing and still has her looks and has a good track record of balancing femininity with a hard edge.

For Duncan, the first name that popped in my head was Karl Urban...and now I can't even see anyone else in the role. He may be a touch too old though.

Gurney...another tricky one. You'd need someone old enough to be an old war horse, but still in good enough condition to look like they can hold their own in a fight. None of that noble warrior/honourable combat nonsense. Gurney is a dirty fighter and as common as they come. As a benchmark, Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth is a pretty close match on several levels. Christopher Eccleston might be a good choice.

Stilgar is similar in many respects, but he'd need a more reserved, thoughtful edge. Alexander Siddig perhaps?

Out Of My Vulcan Mind wrote: View Post
Joe Washington wrote: View Post
I like the idea of dividing the novel Dune into three seasons. I think that could work.
You'd have to massively expand on the first novel with supplementary material to fill three seasons. A straight adaptation would fit comfortably into a single 10-episode season. 10 HBO-length episodes would yield about four hours more screen time than the Director's Cut of the Sci-Fi miniseries.
The material is there if you know how to utilise it. 'The Walking Dead' managed to extrapolate a whole season out of what was just a handful of issues in the comic.

For example, you could spend almost a whole episode just on that dinner scene in Arrakeen with all the local power players. Make it a character piece about how Paul is learning statecraft, all the while laying some of the groundwork for the ongoing plots.

The entire first episode of season 2 could just be Paul and Jessica trying to survive in the desert and nothing else. There could be stretches in season 2 & 3 where you hardly see Paul at all with the focus shifting to other character threads like Feyd's collusion with Thuffir to assassinate the Baron, all the while Fenring poking around trying to see what long game the Baron is playing and Gurney's work with the smugglers. Wheels within wheels and all that.

You'd need good writers and directors of course to make it work, but to my mind an adaptation that does nothing new with the material is a waste of effort, to say nothing of redundant.

Last edited by Reverend; March 3 2014 at 01:35 AM.
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Old March 3 2014, 01:54 AM   #35
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Re: Dune: The TV series

Reverend wrote: View Post
Care to elaborate? I genuinely just don't see it.
Well, this isn't a spoiler thread for either series, so it gets a little tricky in going into detail. I'll keep it relatively vague, but if anyone is avoiding spoilers for either series they shouldn't read this post.

In both stories you have two royal houses go to war, both authors drawing on similar historical sources no doubt, but you also have the details of a noble lord who is drawn from his safehold when he accepts a new position and an inciting incident that kicks things off. The noble lord's wife initially married him out of duty, but came to love him deeply. The royal houses have advisers trained in arcane knowledge - mentats and maesters respectively.

You have characters on a Hero's Journey who go into a wasteland, bring together disparate tribes, while mastering their own mystical abilities, aiming to use those abilities and the forces they've marshalled to get revenge for what was done to their families. There is a prophecy of a messianic chosen one.

You have assassins who can change their appearance and a young female character of the noble house (or at least comparatively noble) on a dark path that involves the assassins.

There are some additional elements, too, but those are the main ones I can think of for now.

A lot of these are common tropes on their own, particularly the Hero's Journey and chosen one points, and there are other influences at work, too, and points of divergence, but there are enough structural similarities in the combination of some of these elements, particularly early on, that I think Dune was a key influence on Martin.

Reverend wrote: View Post
The material is there if you know how to utilise it. 'The Walking Dead' managed to extrapolate a whole season out of what was just a handful of issues in the comic.
As I said, you'd have to massively expand on the first book to fill it out to three seasons, so, yes, it could be done. I'm not saying it couldn't. But it would be very tricky to get it right and I don't think it would be the best approach.

And I don't think straight adaptations are redundant, any more than rereading a book is redudant. They're a means of enjoying the same story over again in a different medium utilizing that medium's particular strengths (which often calls for at least some adjustments to the source material).
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Old March 3 2014, 02:18 AM   #36
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Re: Dune: The TV series

^The key is having strongly written characters and a good cast to carry the episodes. Also keep in mind that a lot of the substance of the book was expressed via internal monologue. It's one of the things the movie struggled with and any competent attempt to faithfully adapt the book would need to find a way to translate those inner thoughts and motivations into actions and words. And I do mean *translate*. Having characters simply spouting off what's on their mind or making massive exposition dumps would be a very bad idea.

That plus the need to gradually explain the setting to an audience mostly unfamiliar witht he books should make for plenty of opportunity for expansion.

As for it being the best approach: well, when you're talking about a TV show rather than a movie, or a mini-series it really needs to be viable for as long as possible. Straight up adapting one book per season just won't work for Dune because the second and third books are significantly shorter, so you'd have to do what the mini-series did and shove them together.

That give you two 10-15 episode seasons of television and you're already into giant worm man territory and 95% of you cast has been killed off. Any attempt at tackling GEoD and the later novels is going to feel like a soft-reboot with an all-new cast save Duncan, which is going to be a hard sell under the best of conditions. After only two seasons, it's pretty much ratings suicide.

P.S. I'm sorry, I still don't see any major "borrowing" going on. Everything you cited seems pretty superficial, most of which are as you said, fairly common tropes and the story structure is right out of 'Hero with a Thousand Faces'. Hell, that's kind of the point in Dune with the missionaria protectiva implanting the panoplia propheticus outsider/messiah myth as a safety net and psychological lever to move the masses.
Thrones on the other hand is using the trope totally without irony.
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Old March 3 2014, 02:34 AM   #37
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Re: Dune: The TV series

The exposition would be the trickiest thing for any adaptation to handle. I agree that one season-per-book isn't the way to go throughout the series, but the first book is well-suited to a single-season adaptation. After that you could do some combining and reworking. For example, you could have a 10-episode first season adapting the first book and then combine the second and third books into an expanded and reworked 16-episode chunk, divided into two 8-episode seasons. That could either track as basically a season per book, with a lot of expanded material, or you could rework it in more dramatic fashion. You could either then stop at three seasons or go on.

Reverend wrote: View Post
P.S. I'm sorry, I still don't see any major "borrowing" going on.
That's fine. Mileage will vary on these things.
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Old March 3 2014, 04:04 AM   #38
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Re: Dune: The TV series

Reverend wrote: View Post
The material is there if you know how to utilise it. 'The Walking Dead' managed to extrapolate a whole season out of what was just a handful of issues in the comic.

For example, you could spend almost a whole episode just on that dinner scene in Arrakeen with all the local power players. Make it a character piece about how Paul is learning statecraft, all the while laying some of the groundwork for the ongoing plots.

The entire first episode of season 2 could just be Paul and Jessica trying to survive in the desert and nothing else. There could be stretches in season 2 & 3 where you hardly see Paul at all with the focus shifting to other character threads like Feyd's collusion with Thuffir to assassinate the Baron, all the while Fenring poking around trying to see what long game the Baron is playing and Gurney's work with the smugglers. Wheels within wheels and all that.
Those are fantastic ideas.
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Old March 3 2014, 04:49 AM   #39
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Re: Dune: The TV series

Reverend wrote: View Post
Same goes for whomever plays the Baron as neither Kenneth McMillan nor Ian McNeice's performances--though both worthy in their own right--quite portrayed the cunning intellect and penetrating insight hiding behind the outward appearances of a perverse, psychotic hedonist. Off the top of my head I can't think of anyone with those traits *and* the right physicality for the role.
Paul Giamatti.
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Old March 3 2014, 06:38 AM   #40
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Re: Dune: The TV series

The Reverend and lurok are my new casting directors.!!!!

Sean Bean as Duke Leto....???....oh, HELL yeah!
Paul Giamatti as the Baron???...deeeelicious!!!

Monica Bellucci as Jessica?
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Old March 3 2014, 07:06 AM   #41
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Re: Dune: The TV series

HIjol wrote: View Post
The Reverend and lurok are my new casting directors.!!!!

Sean Bean as Duke Leto....???....oh, HELL yeah!
Paul Giamatti as the Baron???...deeeelicious!!!

Monica Bellucci as Jessica?
Those three are excellent casting choices.

Maybe Sebastian Stan can be Paul Atreides.

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Old March 3 2014, 07:37 AM   #42
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Re: Dune: The TV series

I like the idea of Monica Bellucci (or Morena Baccarin) in the Dune universe, but doubt they'd get her for TV series (though you never know ). The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman would also have made an interesting movie Baron, or Toby Jones for TV series.

It's interesting that ever since the Lynch Dune (which I still regard as the template, though there were many good things in the two mini-series, esp CoD), they've gone with Brit Jessicas (yes, Krige is SA but made a good career as Brit). Like GoT, there's probably an endless supply of hot young European actors to fill many of the roles . Casting director's dream.

Emily's Blunt or Mortimer as Jessica.
Joseph Rawle (Ripper St) as Feyd
Rupert Friend as Duncan
Toby Stephens as Duke Leto
Kim Bodnia (Danish actor from The Bridge) - love to see him as Gurney.

Also, the other thing a HBO/GoT-style Dune series could do, especially with the Honored Matres and Duncan in later books, is not back-pedal on sexuality.
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Old March 3 2014, 01:37 PM   #43
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Re: Dune: The TV series

^I think they'd have to back pedal a little bit. At least that one scene where the Teg ghola gets his memories back. I don't think even HBO would go there!

Say what you will about Lynch's Dune, it was very well cast. If you've read the books, you can instantly recognise the charaters as if they'd leapt off the page. The minis were a little more hit and miss.

Anyway, how about Doug Jones as the Guild steersman? He certainly looks like someone that's spent too much time in micro-gravity.

Crazy idea, but what about Bruce Boxleitner as Emperor Shaddam? I like the idea of casting the part against type and go with someone who can play the charming statesman but also burst into bile spitting, screaming rants of pure fury. Martin Sheen would be my second choice.

Anyone seen 'Dark City'? Then you'll understand when I suggest Kiefer Sutherland[ as Piter De Vries. He's surprisingly good at being creepy. Stellan Skarsgård would also be a good choice...or Jeffrey Combs?

I really wanted to suggest David Hewlett as one of he mentats as he's excellent at the fast talking thing, but he's really too young for Thuffir and not right for Piter...

Actually I'm really struggling thinking up good possibilities for Thuffir. The bloke from the Lynch movie has totally coloured my idea of what he should look like that it's hard to think of anyone else. Hmm....Edward James Olmos?

OK, just had an insane idea, but what about Bryan Cranston as the Baron? Yes, yes, I know, not a fat guy; he can wear a damn fat suit! The point is, I think he'd be great in the role.

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Old March 3 2014, 05:12 PM   #44
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Re: Dune: The TV series

Reverend wrote: View Post
^I think they'd have to back pedal a little bit. At least that one scene where the Teg ghola gets his memories back. I don't think even HBO would go there!

Say what you will about Lynch's Dune, it was very well cast. If you've read the books, you can instantly recognise the charaters as if they'd leapt off the page. The minis were a little more hit and miss.

Anyway, how about Doug Jones as the Guild steersman? He certainly looks like someone that's spent too much time in micro-gravity.

Crazy idea, but what about Bruce Boxleitner as Emperor Shaddam? I like the idea of casting the part against type and go with someone who can play the charming statesman but also burst into bile spitting, screaming rants of pure fury. Martin Sheen would be my second choice.

Anyone seen 'Dark City'? Then you'll understand when I suggest Kiefer Sutherland[ as Piter De Vries. He's surprisingly good at being creepy. Stellan Skarsgård would also be a good choice...or Jeffrey Combs?

I really wanted to suggest David Hewlett as one of he mentats as he's excellent at the fast talking thing, but he's really too young for Thuffir and not right for Piter...

Actually I'm really struggling thinking up good possibilities for Thuffir. The bloke from the Lynch movie has totally coloured my idea of what he should look like that it's hard to think of anyone else. Hmm....Edward James Olmos?

OK, just had an insane idea, but what about Bryan Cranston as the Baron? Yes, yes, I know, not a fat guy; he can wear a damn fat suit! The point is, I think he'd be great in the role.

Skellen Skellen Skellen oh, F yes!!!!!...great call!...

...as for Thurfir???...have you seen John Rys Davies in Thurfir make-up???...could work...

Duncan?...how about what's-his-nuts from Avatar???
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Old March 3 2014, 08:14 PM   #45
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Re: Dune: The TV series

Here is my cast for a Dune tv show.

Paul: Asa Butterfield - Thought that he was really good in Enders Game. He would be the first actor to actually be close to the age of the character.
Leto: Joaquin Phoenix - Trying to think outside the box a little bit. I believe he has the charisma and intensity to play the duke.
Jessica: Jennifer Gardner - Can play serious and can look regal, love her as an actress.
Duncan: Peter Facinelli - Has the suave good looks, can see easily why Paul would be enamored with him.
Thufia: Avery Brooks - This is no stunt casting, you need someone who can be powerful and kind at the same time.
Gurney: Vincent D'Onofrio - He is one of my favorite actors who I think could be great in the role.
Dr. Yueh: Ken Leung - A solid actor, bring a more intensity to the role.

Stilgar: Stephen Lang - I know, I know very safe casting.
Chani: Jodelle Ferland - interesting young actress who looks right for the part.
Dr. Kynes: Ben Cross - Since the new Star Trek I have always imagined him as this character when I read the book.

Baron: Timothy Spal - I believe he could truly capture the essence of the Baron.
Piter: Crispen Glover - if anyone can inhabit a character like Piter, it's Crispen.
Feyd: Alex Pettrfer - I think he has the right look for the part

Emperor: Miguel Ferrer - Ok, this is stunt casting but worth it to be full circle
Reverend Mother: Sigourney Weaver - Someone up thread mentioned her and I haven't been able to get it out of my head.
Irulan: Dakota Fanning - An excellent actress.
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