Director Denis Villeneuve and Javier Bardem on the set – PHOTO BY CHIABELLA JAMES – Warner Brothers

While the Hollywood studios have been scrambling movie releases all over the calendar in response to COVID-19, one picture that has not shifted is Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of ‘Dune’ for Warner Brothers.  WB is sticking with its mid-December release, but Villeneuve is rushing to get it finished in time.  As he explained, he has been stuck in quarantine in Montreal, while the editing crew has been working diligently in Los Angeles.  Not only are time and distance not on their side, it seems that the coronavirus has complicated plans for reshoots.

In an interview for the Shanghai International Film Festival, Villeneuve said:

“I was planning to go back and shoot some elements later because I wanted to readjust the movie. I needed time. At the time I didn’t know that it would be a pandemic…as we were about to go back to do those elements.  The impact was that it crushed my schedule right now. It will be a sprint to finish the movie on time right now, because we were allowed to go back to shoot those elements in a few weeks…it meant also that I have to finish some elements of the movie, like VFX and the editing, being in Montreal as my crew stayed in Los Angeles.”

While reshoots sound negative, they are actually a normal part of the filmmaking process.  Their cost is factored into a movie’s initial budget, and in many cases– especially with big-budget action movies like this– are necessary.

About a month ago, the Europen Union voted to allow film and television crews from the US to return to finish filming or to begin, if those projects had not begun production yet.

‘Dune’ stars Timothée Chalamet, Javier Bardem as Stilgar, Dave Bautista as Glossu ‘Beast’ Rabban, Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, David Dastmalchian as Piter De Vries, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Stephen McKinley Henderson as Thufir Hawat, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, Charlotte Rampling as Reverend Mother Mohiam, Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Harkonnen, and  Zendaya as Chani.  It is scheduled to hit theaters on December 18, 2020.