Dune to be Hard PG-13 Adventure

Peter Berg has offered an update to his vision for what a feature film version of Frank Herbert’s Dune would look like under his watchful eye.

Geek Tyrant says:

In an interview with MTV he recently spoke about how he intends the film to have a “hard PG-13 rating” and hopes that it will spawn a new film franchise.

Josh Zetumer’s has been brought on to write a script for the film. Berg is confident that the over 200 page script will spark an impressive film and do justice to this “massive epic,” and that it could potentially give life to several other films as well.

“My experience with the book was different than David Lynch’s experience or the people behind the Sci Fi Channel’s experience. I found it to be more of an adventure tale, more of a muscular action/adventure story. I think that’s my approach, not as an R-rated film, but as a pretty hard PG-13 film about a young man dealing with issues of vengeance over the death of his father and wanting some payback and having to come to terms with his destiny along the way.”

I too found Dune to be an epic adventure, and I know this won’t be all that popular to say but I don’t even think that Dune needs to be a Hard PG-13.

The film has some clear adult themes, but there is nothing in the book that would demand an R rating.

Dune has become one of my favourite novels and it has impacted me more than I thought it would. However I get nervous when they say that it has franchise potential. For me there is nothing of Dune that wasn’t written by Herbert’s hands. The followup books written by his son and Kevin J Anderson were just terrible and do not deserve to be associated with this literary masterpiece.

Hopefully if there is more than one film it will die out before covering their contributions.

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35 thoughts on “Dune to be Hard PG-13 Adventure

  1. Many books have internal dialog, it’s usually fixed by giving the characters some sort of body language or minor changes to the dialog to portray what the character is thinking about.
    Internal dialog can be translated into images or a sound.

  2. I love Dune and I’m glad to hear that someone wants to try their hand at this masterpiece yet again.

    However –

    So how will this new director handle the large amounts of internal dialogue that’s in the books. Lynch didn’t handle that very well – amongst other things.

  3. Huge Jodorowsky fan. Check out Arrabal (I will Walk Like a Crazy Horse), if you’re into the Panic Movement.

    Anyway, I’ve seen Lynch’s version many times. It is a beautiful mess. Still not THE Dune movie everybody wanted.

  4. So no one has really commented on the original David Lynch verson. Is it safe to say not many people have seen it? Or that no one liked it? Sci Fi isn’t really Lynch’s style but I mean, certain aspects of his vision I thought were really great as pertaining to the translation of the novel, to the screen. I read that Jodorowsky’s was supposed to be way better at one point. Anyone here a jodorowsky fan? (I guess that’s really like 3 questions)

    1. Have both the original and the more recent miniseries on DVD. Like them both in their own respects. The original created an amazing mood and Lynch captured some scenes magnificently; however, at the same time it was a little loose with the story and left out so much. The miniseries, on the other hand, covered so much more of the story, following much closer to the book; however, the effects and acting were awful to say the least. I am a fan of Lynch, though. Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive are two of my favorite w-t-f-is-going-on movies.

      1. What about eraserhead and wild at heart? Those are definitely some w-t-f movies within themselves. I agree with you about the lynch comment. His vision of dune was definitely atmospheric and really moody

      2. Oddly enough, Eraserhead being one of his most recognizable movies, I have never gotten around to seeing it. I really need too. I also Need to finish Inland Empire, I started watching that with my girlfriend and she was so lost we had to watch something else. Haven’t heard of Wild at Heart, but now I’m curious to see it.

        On another note, just read about King Shot. Being produced by Lynch and directed by Jodorowsky. Marylin Manson as a 300-year-old pope! That should be interesting.

        It is discussions like these that really make something like themovieblog.com shine. Opening my eyes to things I might have otherwise overlooked.

    2. Holy crap! Thanks for posting the name “Jodorowsky”. I hadn’t heard of him, but just read about his planned take on Dune back in the day. That would have been an insane, and mostly amazing, undertaking. I am really curious now what his version of Dune would have been like. My eyes were bulging out of my head just reading about it. Thanks for this post!

      1. Man, talk about a visionary; jodorowsky, you gotta see his films. So intriguing, all his films have strange metaphysical and alchemic themes. El Topo is a leone style western with religious and demonized themes and don’t get me started on the Holy Mountain. If you like strange, cryptic, and hypnotic cinema (like lynch), jodorowsky is a name to get familiar with.

  5. Jeremy K,

    First of all, R ratings sometimes times have very little to do with just violence. An “adult” or “dark” atmosphere is sometimes enough (watch the commentaries for “Spawn” for a good anecdote on that). If you actually succeed in making a film that really disturbs people – violence or no – count on it getting an R rating. In my mind, if even just the Gom Jabbar scene is realized correctly, it should be enough for an R.

    Regarding violence, look at the newest Die Hard film. Yes you can show plenty of “action” in a PG-13, but you can never fully realize the horrors and aftermath of it without an R. Dune is a violent series. Muad Dib’s reaction and beliefs toward it is a major character and plot element. Clean, PG-13 rated violence and atmosphere simply cannot definitively sell that to me. I experience the world of Dune (the book) as an adult and dangerous place where the stakes are high and death is real. It’s not that I just want more “de-caps” and “gibs”, I just want that feeling of unsafe-ness and discomfort to be fully captured.

    If they can do it with a PG-13, it will be the first film with such a rating to succeed in that for me. I very highly doubt that Peter Berg is genius enough for that.

    1. The original trilogy for Star Wars were all PG, and they manage some seriously dark themes, action, and what have you, especially in Empire Strikes Back. Now granted those were based on a dated rating system. Would those movies still have been rated PG in today’s society? Couldn’t tell you, but it is possible to make a movie with dark themes and still have it good without the R rating.

      1. Star Wars used many devices to avoid violence and dark atmosphere. People get stabbed with lasers that self cauterize. When someone dies it’s a quick blip and then it moves on – and it almost never happens to a main character. Storm Troopers are faceless enemies without any trace of humanity. They might as well be action figures.

        In Dune we have people disemboweled so that their “Water” might be taken. It’s going to be hard to get around that. Quick cut to the protagonists facial expression? Gross off-screen sound-effect? See, that type of garbage just takes me right out.

    2. I find that a lot of people who demand R-Ratings fpr films that don’t otherwise need them generally lack imagination. I don’t need to SEE everything in order to know what’s going on. Sometimes the thought of what’s happening alone is enough.

  6. Does not sound good at all. Dune series is epic because it is more THAN a muscular action/adventure story. Not because it is “more OF a muscular action/adventure story.”

    I really think Berg is going the wrong direction with this project.

    1. I agree on the action part. I would expect there to be some action without a doubt, cause there was in the book, but the series is more of a drama delving into family, politics, destiny, and global awareness. Action should only be a side note to the more bigger picture of what the series actually accomplishes.

  7. It is true that the Dune series doesn’t require a high rating so this news at least shows their trying to keep the atmosphere of Dune intact. I’m still a bit nervous about this, though, ’cause this is my favorite book series and i’d hate to see them ruin it. Here’s to hoping they get it right.

  8. It’s not a knock on themovieblog. I’ve been coming here for years.

    But I used to read movie news here because of my enthusiasm for film. Now I just sigh.

    And anyone who thinks a PG-13 would not restrict the Dune universe has either not read the books, or is just a little deluded. PG-13 restricts everything. “Be Cool”. “Robocop 3”. Man, I don’t even want to get into it, it’s such a sore subject. Anyway. I’m done with movie news. That’s all.

    1. What in the books would require anything beyond a PG rating? I don’t require any cussing in the original series of books, nor do I recall any graphic scenes either. And yes, I have read them all, though it was years ago. Can you please remind me of what in the series of books would require a heftier rating in movie adaptations, please?

  9. For once I agree with you 100% on the rating in this regard. There is nothing in Dune that would demand neither an R or a PG-13. It could be done just as epic as the original Star Wars trilogy without the need of going beyond a PG rating. It’s going to be kinda disappointing to see it if I hear the word bitch, fuck, shit, or damn. These words honestly just don’t belong in the series. Violence wise, there is little to no gore in the book, so there really should not be any in the the movies. Would love to see this be a success and continue on making movies of the rest of Frank Herbert’s Dune series. Would love to see that entire series done on film with good acting and effects.

    1. Sorry, series was not a good word there, I meant “does not belong in this world”. The Dune series of books are still near the top of my favorite book series of all time.

  10. A PG-13 is no longer a cop out with an action/adventure movie. Hell with todays ratings criteria, most Tarantino films would be PG-13 if you take out the cussing and boobs. Violence doesn’t seem to matter any longer. Horror movies have figured this out lately, and that’s why they open so big. They have a bigger audience while sacrificing non of the violence. I am not familiar with Dune, but in theory, does it seem like it could be done this way?

    1. Just because the aim is for a PG-13 does not mean they will get one…

      The project has been in development for some time (indeed, this is a ‘update’)…

      For all the remake and sequel films made, folks forget that not everything comes to pass…

      There are plenty of new films out there that are not sequels or remakes…

      You don’t have to come here. Other film news related websites have a 98% chance of giving a post in regards to a remake or sequel of some sort.

    2. So then DarkKnight you can go get your depressing news somewhere else. Dude,the movie blog isn’t creating the news, it’s just reporting and commenting on it.

  11. Hmm can any Duneheads put the scale of the Duniverse into perspective?

    I remember I was talking to somebody a while ago and he basically told me the only thing that exists out there quite like Dune is Tolkiens works.

    Is the scale of Dune really that big? I know it covers around 15 thousand years and I am just curious about what a “franchise” would mean.

    Are we talking a trilogy or are we talking a James Bond type franchise(assuming the movies are successful enough to warrant more and maintain a consistent enough quality of course).

    I am sad to say I am not as familiar with Mr Herberts works as I should be but with more of Tolkiens works coming to our screens(I hope theres more after The Hobbit movies anyway), The Dark Tower possibly spawning a franchise and more Star Trek adventures to come it is just a wonderous time to be a geek.

    If things go well we could have The Dark Tower, Star Trek, The Hobbit and Dune movies lighting our screens up consistently for a few years.

    Heres to hoping.

    1. well this is good news in someways….the booksare amazing pieces of work but after the horrible crap movies that have been made i have little faith in this guy making it ….as for it bieng a vast world like tolkien …not even close imo..though there is a great diversity in the stories about the different houses and the stories about his children are the best.

  12. Rodney. I have not read any of the Dune novels, though I own Dune. So I Will not agree or disagree on anything you say. After all, I have nothing to base it on. But I will say, and you may agree with me, that even the worst books, can become some of the better films.

  13. Agree on the followup books. I read house atreides and house harkonnen, and both were nowhere near the league of the original books.

    I wonder if the only thing in the books that’ll really earn a hard rating is the drug use?

    1. I’m sure there’ll be a need to edit out an orgy or two from later books to preserve a hard pg-13 rating. And maybe a little more depending on how deeply they want to discuss imprinting.

      In the overall, I’m actually excited for this. I’d love to see the original six books made into movies. (Anderson and Brian Herbert should be ashamed of what they’ve done) But would you make Dune and Dune Messiah into one movie? Dune Messiah seemed a little on the short side to be it’s own movie.

      1. Another problem would be all the ‘jihad’ stuff in the book. Especially since Paul’s Jihad (Paul is the hero of the first book, to those not in the know) goes on to kill 60 billion people… Which is better than what would have happened if he hadn’t done it, but still not quite ‘heroic’ in the hollywood sense of the term. Can’t see them wanting to put this to film.

        And I don’t think they’ll ever make God Emperor. Can audiences handle a sequel set 3000 years after the previous film where the previous main character is now a giant worm and Emperor of the Galaxy?

        Let alone the sequels where things just get wierder?

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