Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Joe Washington, Mar 1, 2014.
Those three are excellent casting choices.
Maybe Sebastian Stan can be Paul Atreides.
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.
^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???
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.
^Some good choices, though I think Stephen Lang would be a much better fit for Gurney than Stilgar.
I was thinking again about the Baron, trying to come up with a slightly younger Brian Cox type and suddenly John Carroll Lynch leapt to mind.
For Chani I'd go with Hailee Steinfeld as right now, she just about the right age where she can play younger so when the two year gap hits in the middle of the book and she's suddenly a mother, it'll be a credible transition.
The real challenge is casting Alia. Probably the best approach is to find a talented 9-11 year old who's small for her age. Maybe even use some forced perspective trickery to make her look even shorter, or find a young small-person with the right look and acting talent.
I too considered Hailee Steinfeld for Chani and while a good actress, she doesn't look right for the part.
I didn't even consider an actress for Alia, think a combination of a very young actress and some CGI could accomplish the role.
I've written several Dune screenplays over the years. Every few years I take a stab at it, seeing what new insights I can gleam from the book. In fact I'm starting a new version in a few weeks, this one is based on an old idea I had about producing my own Dune series, I'm going to explore that again.
^Just for the LOLs, why not try what I suggested before and plot out and break down the first book into three 10-15 episode seasons just to see if there really is enough material to go around.
Not full screenplays obviously, just short synopses with the A & B stories and the broad strokes of the character arcs.
For example: the first episode should be almost entirely on Caladan, cover the "box scene" and the Reverend Mother's exchange with Paul regarding his father and the move to Arrakis. Her talk with Jessica about her disobedience and the training room scene to introduce Thuffir, Duncan, Gurney & Huey. I'd advise holding off on the Duke appearing in person until the very end. With him being talked about almost the entire episode he should be given a good entrance. Think Martin Sheen in the pilot episode of 'The West Wing'. The whole episode revolved around him and yet he only shows up in person for the last two scenes.
Inter-cut with all that should be some scenes on Giedi Prime that introduce the Baron, Feyd, Raban & Piter and cover their side of the plot. The episode should end with them embarking for Arrakis.
I'd also recommend using the Irulan narration device as it worked very well in both the minis and the movie. Maybe each episode could be prefaced by a quote just like the novel's chapters. Either just a simple text card and/or spoken aloud by Irulan. Another neat thing to do is to hold off on introducing Irulan in person until several episodes in, so a fresh audience can get a neat little "aha!" moment when they realise who it is that has been talking of these events in the past tense up till then.
A similar trick could be pulled off with the identity of Muad'Dib, since a lot of those quotes from the book are attributed to him without context. It'd be a neat trick to wait until season two when he chooses his new name for that piece of the puzzle to fall into place.
Chani needs to balance youthful vitality with the hard edge that comes with being raised Freman, as well as exhibit a certain innocence backed by a sharp and dangerous intelligence. As for her looks I thing she's "elfin" enough ( I think that's how FH described her.) Doesn't matter too much if her ethnicity doesn't match other Fremen since she's actually only 3/4 Fremen.
As for Alia...I don't think CG is a good idea. Too much of a crutch and it'll be neigh on impossible to get it to look credible on a TV budget. Any attempt is likely to find itself camping out in the uncanny valley.
Reverend, I like your layout of the first episode. I've been thinking a lot about your idea of dividing Dune into three seasons.
I've been wondering lately if it would be better and more manageable for a Dune TV series to just be focused on the first book like Reverend suggested or the first three books than the overall book series.
What do you guys think?
IMO you definitely don't need the overall series. I think even just the first two books is more than enough to bite off.
As for structuring the series, you could almost go chapter-by-chapter (definitely using the quotes as the book does):
Spoiler: Something like this
Episode One: Chapter One. Show us some of the detail of life and the Atreides' rule on Caladan, some of that "air and sea" power that Leto mentions in the book but that we're never shown directly. Cut back and forth with life on Geidi Prime, setting up the Harkonnens' intriguing with the Emperor. Have Paul's run-in with the gom jabbar mid-episode, his conversations and interactions with the House's cast of retainers in the latter half, and the Baron laying out his scheme for Feyd-Rautha as a sinister finale.
EDIT: But you might want to add some material between chapters, too. Some of what happens on Arrakis prior to the transfer of the fief, for example: Idaho is there trying to make contact with the Fremen, the Harkonnens are making some considerable mischief, there's a fair amount of action that the book hints at but doesn't fully reveal. A show would be a good opportunity to go into some of that.
That could work.
I'd resist the urge to fill in too many of the blanks between chapters. With all the exposition flying around (and there's going to be a metric TON of it in the first few episodes) the jumps in time are a good way to keep the audience jogging to catch up. What you don't want is for it to all plod along, going from A to B to C to D. Remember the first few episodes of 'Caprica' after the pilot? They had exactly this problem of not very much happening, but people milling around talking about things the audience already knows.
A more pertinent example would be the Pinky & the Brain sequels to Chapterhouse. It read like a 6 year old's letter about what they did on their holidays: -
"...and then we went to the shops and then we had some ice cream and then we ran away from a tribe of face dancers and then....etc. etc."
There's plenty of material to draw from without needing to invent too much.
Good idea about *showing* the Atredies air and sea power, rather than just talking about it. The same should be applied to Freman desert power, mentat calculation, Bene Gesserit control and Sardaukar ferocity and effectiveness (makes it all the more impressive when the Freman kick their arses.)
I was thinking the other day about how to handle the first season finale and what I thought would work best is to do it as three episodes, each showing a different point of view of the Fall of Arakeen.
The first episode should be very much character driven as it's from the Duke's perspective. Starting right off the bat with him already drugged and imprisoned. The whole thing could be a series of quasi-dreamlike flashbacks and distortions of his reality. You could show his life on Caladan, memories of his father, the impressions he left on him and even witnessing the death of the old Duke to the salusan bull. All through it would be fragments of reality intruding. The Baron's gloating taunts, Huey's confession to the Duke, his later confrontation with the Baron followed by his death and of course the poison tooth. The final scenes should naturally be Leto and Piter's deaths and the Baron's narrow escape.
The second of the three parter could be the meat of the battle as shown from Thuffir & Gurney's perspective. The house shield is down, the Duke and his family are missing, Harkonnen troops are landing all over Arrakis in alarming numbers. Gurney attempts to rally the men but are driven into the cliffs and trapped by the unexpected use of archaic artillery fire. This is the last we see of Gurney (presumed dead by the audience) until much later in season three when Paul runs across him with the smugglers.
Thuffir is similarly trying to rally what forces he can, but in his own master of assassins way. He's more concerned with how suspiciously well trained the "Harkonnen troops" appear to be and is working on getting the survivors to link up with Duncan and the Freman and escaping into the deep desert. His story ends with his capture, to be picked up later in season two with Feyd's plotting thread.
The finale should be entirely from Paul & Jessica's POV and start with them captured and tied in a thopter, on their way to being disposed of in the desert. This is the first the audience has seen of them for two episodes, with only mentions of their fate (both intended and presumed) in the last two episodes. As in the book, they overpower their guards, find the package and are found by Duncan who leads them to Kynes.
In there somewhere should be the bit where they're sweeping the desert with lasguns and hit the shield Duncan left for them in the sand. What happens when this occurs is a thing they can have mentioned or described before this, bit it's something that should be demonstrated at least once.
Paul has a prophetic visions thanks to the spice and sees many of the things to come, the jihad, the golden path, Jessica's parentage, the legions fanatically chanting "Muad'Dib! Muad'Dib! Muad'Dib!". This is still a mystery out of context, since at this point the audience have only been told that the Freman will call him "Usul", "Mahdi" and the "Lisan al Gaib". Muad'Dib should be painted as a dark figure of the uncertain future. A terrible thing or villain to be feared and avoided. You can even play with the vague implication that (in accordance with the Baron's plan) that this figure is Feyd after "liberating" Arrakis from his tyrant brother.
Inter-cut with all this should be some scenes showing the aftermath of the battle, mostly the Baron talking about what it cost them and what comes next. In there should be the scene with the Sardaukar officer demanding to see Leto's body and maybe even Shaddam's fury.
Back with Paul and Jessica, the hiding place is stormed and Duncan is killed buying them time to flee and the episode ends with them flying into the storm. Queue Irulan's closing monologue.
This should make the Red Wedding look like a polite squabble. More than half the cast are killed off in fairly brutal fashion, the status quo of the previous season is turned completely on it's head and it looks like for all intents and purposes that the Harkonnans have won and the Baron already has his sights set on getting Feyd on the throne.
Holy crap, I really want to see a Dune TV series now.
Reverend, that is an awesome idea for a three-part finale. I would watch it completely from beginning to end.
I can imagine the Dune opening credits sequence involving a voiceover narration by Princess Irulan establishing the state of the Dune universe and sweeping images of planets such as Giedi Prime, Caladan, and Arrakis.
Do you think a Dune TV series could be the next Game of Thrones?
Does Dune have potential as a Game of Thrones like TV series? Certainly, the potential is there. Would such a series be as popular as GoT? Hard to say
I see the biggest challenge as keeping the audience engaged long enough.
That said, what about as an animated series? You'd could still get big name talent at a fraction of the cost.
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