Denis Villeneuve is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. His movies demand to be seen on the biggest screen possible, and his influence across Hollywood is undeniable. I would even say he single-handedly brought science fiction back into the limelight for theatrical cinema.
So, when Denis Villeneuve gives an interview, I like to check it out in order to see where his head is at when it comes to Hollywood.
Recently, he sat down with Time to talk about the biz, filmmaking, and returning to Dune.
Let’s check out some of the best quotes.
Denis Villeneuve on the Current State of Filmmaking
Despite all his success in Hollywood, Villeneuve was under a lot of pressure when he brought the first Dune movie to the big screen. It was a beloved novel that others had tried to adapt and was a notoriously difficult project.
Well, he hit that one out of the park and now the pressure is on for number two.
But that doesn’t shake Villeneuve, he says, “I was trying to be, as a filmmaker, as invisible as possible. I tried my best to keep the poetry of the book, the atmosphere, the colors, the smell, everything that I felt when I read the book. I tried.”
Of course, it helped that he also had a stellar cast to round out his efforts.
So how did he pick his Paul Atreides?
Villeneuve said of casting Timothée Chalamet as his lead, “He has those very aristocratic features. You feel a strong intelligence in the eyes. And he looks very young onscreen, and I needed that youth, that candor, that vulnerability—that young man who was struggling with his identity, trying to find a spot.”
Obviously, Dune: Part 2 is a sequel to a hit movie, and that feels like the norm in Hollywood.
But can the continue to do that and find success?
A lot of it is finding ways to continue to be original within the system.
Villeneuve said of the current state of filmmaking, “…we behave like algorithms, as filmmakers. We’re in a very conservative time; creativity is restricted. Everything’s about Wall Street. What will save cinema is freedom and taking risks. And you feel the audience is excited when they see something they haven’t seen before.”
I am on board with Villeneuve’s call for freedom. I think we have become overly reliant on algorithms, and Hollywood continues to favor commerce over art. If we continue on this path, we’re not going to have anything interesting left.
And this business will lose what made it so special.
We need these huge filmmakers to support one another in taking chances, and we need studios to support them as well.
It’s the only way to continue to have opportunities and to find new voices.
What do you think about all of this? Does it feel like Villeneuve is right about the current state or do you think there’s some nuance there?
Let me know in the comments.