Herbert's novel, published in 1965, was a complex (and somewhat allegorical) tale about a galactic empire where individual family houses control various planets. Paul Atreides and his family find themselves embroiled in a huge power struggle after they're granted control of the planet Arrakis -- the only place in the galaxy where the valuable spice Melange grows.
Read on past the jump for more on 'Dune''s tumultuous history and what this latest setback means.
David Lynch took a crack at adapting the complex tale for the screen in 1984. He wound up with over six hours of footage that had to be condensed down to a more reasonable theatrical length. Needless to say, the film suffered. SyFy turned the novel into a miniseries, with more success, back in 2000. The cable version earned enough praise to inspire the network to adapt Herbert's 'Children of Dune' in 2003. Paramount, feeling that perhaps they could do the novel justice in a cinematic landscape that saw Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy successfully brought to the screen, spent years trying to get a new theatrical version off the ground.
Rubenstein reports that "Paramount's option has expired and we couldn't reach an agreement." Money appears to be the issue that derailed the project for good, but the producer is undaunted: "I'm going to look at my options, and whether I wind up taking the script we developed in turnaround, or start over, I'm not sure yet."
The script mentioned is a piece from Chase Palmer and one-time director Pierre Morel. According to Rubenstein, the draft did a good job of cutting the massive novel down to a manageable feature-film length. Yet, as happy as he seems to be with that script, he hasn't yet contacted Chase and Morel about moving forward with the project.
For his part, Rubenstein doesn't seem to be in a major rush with the project. He cites the amount of time it took to bring a miniseries like Stephen King's 'The Stand' to ABC as proof that sometimes taking the long road leads to better results. He remains committed to his vision of 'Dune' and seems unwilling to compromise. "Since I know what I want, eventually, I'll find someone who'll agree with me," he says. Agreeing with Rubenstein won't come cheaply, though, as Deadline estimates that the project would need roughly a $100-million-dollar budget to get up and running. That's a hefty price tag for something that's already been adapted twice.
Until someone steps up and opens his wallet, 'Dune' is a free agent. What that means going forward is anyone's guess, but the one thing we know for sure is that this project won't be landing in theaters anytime soon. Does that upset you, or do you really not care to see another cinematic version of this classic sci-fi tale? Weigh in below.