Dune: Part Two Director Denis Villeneuve Wanted Iconic Sandworm Scene To Look Like A 'Documentary'; Deets Inside

In the recent Dune behind-the-scenes companion book, The Art and Soul of Dune: Part Two, director Denis Villeneuve revealed that he wanted the sand worm scene to look like a documentary.

Published on Jun 16, 2024  |  11:37 PM IST |  71.7K
Dune 2 (PC: IMDb)

Denis Villeneuve's Dune movies have been criticized for their color schemes and camerawork, with Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga being a desert-centric film with vibrant colors. The Dune films often look surprisingly colorless, leading some to question if they should have gotten more crazier with their color schemes.

Dune largely received rave reviews from critics and was praised for its visual effects and cast performances. Some reviews considered it one of the greatest science fiction films ever made. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 92% of 434 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.3/10.

Denis Villeneuve wanted the sandworm scene in Dune 2 to look like a documentary

Dune features a muted color scheme and a grounded directing style, making it more cerebral and politically oriented than Mad Max. The franchise's stunning visuals are showcased in Dune: Part Two, with sequences like the Harkonnen planet detour in the second act. Denis Villeneuve understands that there's more to color grading than just aesthetics, showcasing the franchise's ability to create visually stunning films.

Most notably, Villeneuve brought this mindset into the Dune: Part Two sequence where Paul rides a worm for the first time. For a scene that sure sounds ridiculous on paper, it's easy to imagine the movie depicting it in a more bombastic, over-the-top light. Instead, Villeneuve chose to depict it in as boring a manner as possible, to better create the illusion that this is a real thing we're watching, not the live-action cartoon that the Mad Max movies often feel like.


Dune 2 (YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures)

As Villeneuve explained in the recent Dune behind-the-scenes companion book, The Art and Soul of Dune: Part Two, his chief priority with the sand-riding scene was "anchoring the story in realism."

"Keep it grounded," Villeneuve explained, recounting his approach to the scene. "When you're filming the worm from far away, do it in a documentary style, with long lenses. I want the camera movements to be as boringly realistic as possible because it does something to the brain when you feel that the point of view is real."

The scene in the film Dune 2 is an immersive experience, with much of the frame covered in sand, often obstructing the view of Paul's actions. The worm is only shown from Paul's vantage point, and the sand is mostly covered in the frame. This approach may be disappointing to Giant Worm fans, but it effectively sells the illusion.

"When I saw this in IMAX Thursday, there was an old man crying near me," reads the top comment on the official YouTube clip. "He said [he] read the first 'Dune' back in the '60s and he was so grateful to have lived long enough to see Paul ride the sandworm in a way he envisioned his entire life." 


Denis Villeneuve is disappointed that Dune 2 remains 2024's biggest office hit

Denis Villeneuve expressed disappointment that his film, Dune: Part Two remains the biggest box office success of 2024, expressing his desire for more films, not just those directed by him, to achieve success in theaters.

“I think we need movies that are theatrical experiences, that will fully embrace the power of the theater, and I’m not just talking about ‘Dune 2.’ Of course I’m talking about many movies,” he said. “A movie like ‘Civil War,’ for instance, is a strong example of a movie that absolutely used the power of the theater.”

Dune 2 (YouTube/Warner Bros. Pictures)

"I was lucky that ‘Part Two’ did reach the audience, I wish it would happen more often, honestly,” Villeneuve continued. “I’m disappointed to still be number one. … I hope soon that there will be other successes at the box office. I hope, sooner or later, that this summer box office will be much better.”


The summer box office has gotten off to a slow start. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga which debuted over Memorial Day weekend, brought in 32 million USD the lowest No. 1 Memorial Day release since 1995. The four-day weekend brought in 128 million USD, far lower than the projected 160 million USD theaters were expected to make last week.

There’s still hope for the summer box office, though July will see the release of Despicable Me 4, Twisters, and, perhaps most importantly, this year’s only Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Deadpool & Wolverine.

Ahead of Dune: Part Two's release, Hans Zimmer revealed he was already writing music for a third film after Villeneuve came in and wordlessly put a copy of Dune Messiah on his desk. In April 2024, it was reported that Villeneuve and Legendary had officially begun development on the third film. Villeneuve has said that Messiah would be his final Dune film.

ALSO READ: Will There Be A Fallout Season 2? Here Is All We Know About The Sequel

Pinkvilla Pulse
Subscribe to our newsletter for entertainment exclusives, star interviews, and the latest lifestyle trends. Look No Further!
About The Author

With a Masters in English, Barsha is a movie buff and a K-pop stan who is fascinated by the



Latest Articles