Why Denis Villeneuve Is Grateful He Didn't Shoot 'Dune' Parts 1&2 Together

Denis Villeneuve's Dune saga begins in October when the first part hits the big screen. The movie is an adaptation of the first half of Frank Herbert's iconic novel, while the second part is yet to get the green light officially.

The movie was shot during the hot spring and summer months in locations like Wadi Rum, Jordan, and Liwa Oasis in the United Arab Emirates. In the end, the expense of shooting two films back-to-back was too great, meaning filming has not yet taken place for Part Two.

While the original plan may have been to film in this way, Villeneuve told Newsweek he was ultimately glad to take a break from the behemoth sci-fi adaptation due to the intense experience of filming.

He told Newsweek: "Where the discussion started to happen was about [how] I wanted to shoot both parts simultaneously, one after the other. And that was not accepted, because it was too expensive.

"And today, I will say that I'm grateful that we did it this way, because I would have been too exhausted. I love to be fully present when you make a movie and doing this was by far the roughest, toughest and longest shoot I've ever done..."

In fact, for Villeneuve, the decision to split the filming up meant he could treat the first half as "training" for the second part. This was good given the chosen endpoint of the first film, as the director said he expects more complexity and difficulty when filming the second part.

He continued: "I feel that it's more time to digest the first experience and having taken lessons out of it and becoming more prepared and having more knowledge about what will happen and the way to approach it.

"The second one, if it happens, will be definitely more challenging and more complex to do. And I'm happy that I'd like some kind of, not a massive rehearsal but you know the first one was really like training to work on that scale. So I learned a lot."

dune chalotte rampling
Timothée Chalamet and Charlotte Rampling in "Dune". This scene sees the Reverend Mother test Paul to see if he might be the Kwisatz Haderach. Warner Bros.

Villeneuve always intended to approach this book as a two-part adaptation, so while working out the filming schedule was a little more difficult, the studio was immediately on board with the idea of multiple films.

In fact, Legendary, the company behind Dune, along with Warner Bros had plans for multiple movies in a series.

He said: "Right at the beginning, I strongly recommended that we should do this in two parts. That will be too much, what will they regret?

"We said it's too big...the idea of making several movies was good news for them...I think, that Legendary bought the rights for Dune they had this idea of creating a series of movies, so I suggested the split the first one in two parts and they all said yes, of course, that makes a lot of sense."

At the moment, the second part of Dune has not been filmed and it technically has not been green-lit by Warner Bros.

It is not clear when or if the second part of Dune will be made, with the box office likely serving as the indicator for fans' appetites for another dose of the sci-fi series.

At the moment, Villeneuve has also been confirmed as the director of a new Cleopatra movie, having entered talks back in 2017.

Speaking on Canadian TV channel TVA Nouvelles, he confirmed his hopes to bring Cleopatra to the screen "before or after filming the second part of Dune," meaning it may be these projects are closely linked.

Dune is out in theaters and on HBO Max on October 21

The cast and director of Dune
The cast and director of "Dune" at a London screening, including Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothee Chalamet, director Denis Villeneuve, Babs Olusanmokun and Zendaya. David M. Benett/Getty Images