Denis Villeneuve | Future project to be about ‘space and time’

Denis Villeneuve
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Screenwriter Eric Roth reveals he’s written a sci-fi script for Denis Villeneuve that is “certainly about eternity.”

We know that Denis Villeneuve has already set his sights on completing his Dune trilogy, so the celebrated director’s attention is most likely focused on grinding the gears of a trilogy-capper irreversibly into motion in the months preceding Dune: Part II's delayed March opening.

However, it seems the filmmaker has been thinking about life beyond Dune, given that the acclaimed screenwriter Eric Roth has revealed that he’s penned a ‘secret’ script for Villeneuve, one that is about “space and time”. Roth was appearing on the A Script Apart podcast when he made the revelation, and while he didn’t give away too much, the project certainly sounded like it belongs in Villeneuve’s cerebral house style, given that he’s already made thought-provoking films such as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049.

Roth, whose impressive credit list includes Forrest Gump, The Insider, Ali, Munich, The Postman and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, said, “I just wrote a movie for Denis Villeneuve… We’ll see what ends up happening with it, but it’s about space and time, and it’s very lonely. It’s certainly about eternity.”

According to World of Reel, the project may well be one of Villeneuve’s long-standing passion projects, an adaptation of Arthur C Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama. If and when this happens is anybody’s guess though, given that the filmmaker has another Dune movie in his sights, not to mention the rumours linking him with a crack at a historical epic in the form of a Cleopatra movie.

In an email to World of Reel, Roth declined to elaborate on the screenplay. “The title will have to remain a dark star for now,” he wrote. “Suffice it to say at 78 I am trying to find some answers to the unanswerable.”

Rendezvous With Rama, first published in 1973, is about human explorers investigating a gigantic, cylinder-shaped ship as it passes through our solar system. Although filled with mystery and a sense of awe in the face of the alien unknown, the novel is more coldly rational than philosophical. Are Roth and Villeneuve working on a more human, meditative take on Clarke’s work? Last year, Villeneuve described his Rendezvous With Rama project as being like “Arrival on steroids”. That film was a quietly emotional story about alien contact and parenthood, so putting it all together, it’s just possible that Roth was indeed talking about an adaptation of Clarke’s book. Or maybe it’s something else entirely.

When we do hear about Villeneuve’s next move, you can be sure that we’ll let you know.

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