Monday, September 21, 2009

New project for Robert Pattinson?

Director Peter Berg has confirmed he is still planning a big-screen remake of Frank Herbert's classic 1965 novel Dune.

And there are rumours that Twilight star Robert Pattinson is in line for a role in the film which, it is speculated, is likely to be the lead character of Paul Atreides.

That role was played by Kyle MacLachlan in the 1984 film adaptation directed by David Lynch (and also starring Sting) and by Alec Newman in the 2000 Sci-Fi channel miniseries.

Hancock helmer Peter Berg became involved with the Dune project in March last year and it's still listed for a 2010 release, which now seems very unlikely as production has not yet started and no cast has been announced.

But Berg says the project is definitely still alive and says screenwriter Josh Zetumer - who is also penning the fourth Bourne film - has completed a first draft of the script.

He said Zetumer's script is "a massive epic" almost 200 pages long - with a page of a screenplay equating to a minute of screentime, we're talking a 3hrs 20mins movie at present. Obviously there's some trimming to be done.

The director admits that he and his team now have to "figure out how we can beat [the script] into something manageable without offending the purists. Filmmakers have struggled [in the past] because it's a very complicated book to crack."

He added that his version would not be just a retread of the previous film or miniseries: "I think I had a much more different experience, I think, with the book than David Lynch did. To me, I think my interpretation will feel significantly different from that and the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries that aired. I have a different experience than both of those filmmakers did."

"[The book] was much more muscular and adventurous, more violent and possibly even a little bit more fun. I think those are all elements of my experience of the book that can be brought in without offending the die-hard fans. There's a more dynamic film to be made."

He added: "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.

"There's definitely a franchise potential."

Asked about the rumours that he wants Robert Pattinson to have a starring role, Berg would only say he was looking at "guys in their late teens."

In the novel, Paul Atreides ages from 15 to 18 but was portrayed as older in the Lynch film and the TV miniseries in order to attract a more experienced actor to this pivotal role. If Berg follows the book exactly, it would rule out 23-year-old Pattinson; if he also makes the character older, the Twilight star might still be in with a chance.

Pattinson is pictured above alongside Kyle MacLachlan playing Paul Atreides in the David Lynch movie.

The reports of Pattinson's possible involvement started when celebrity blogger Perez Hilton said the star had been spotted leaving Berg's Los Angeles home in May, during a break from filming New Moon.

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