Paramount have been sitting on the project and trying to cobble together a writer and director that could have a bit more impact that David Lynch’s sprawling 1984 version. Peter Berg (The Losers, Hancock) was one of the bigger names who managed to turn in a draft that the studio and Rubinstein liked but he ended up jumping ship for a chance at Battleship with Liam Neeson and Brooklyn Decker instead.
Next up was Taken director Pierre Morel who worked on a screenplay with Chase Palmer which apparently managed to fit in a lot of of Herbert’s dense storytelling but for whatever reason, that didn’t work out, Morel instead turning his attentions to the Sam Raimi-produced Earth Defense Force.
Rubinstein told Deadline that the reason Paramount backed out came down to money, stating “Sure, it’s frustrating, how long this has taken, but most of what I’ve done that worked out well over the years, like the miniseries The Stand, took a long time. Since I know what I want, eventually, I’ll find someone who’ll agree with me. What I like is that talent has interesting things to say on how they would approach it.”
Morel and Palmer will have a first shot at any new version but the project will reportedly need at least $100 million to get off the ground. Whether any studio has enough spare cash for that kind of outlay remains to be seen; however you look at it, that’s a lot of spice…