Those visual effects in Dune Part Two …….

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Mary Parent was renowned as the producer you want on the set of a big-budget, logistically complex film that could spiral out of control. She’s done this on films like The Revenant, Godzilla vs Kong and Pacific rim Uprising  managing to help directors execute their master vision. And the scale and the visual effects in Dune Part Two certainly had the potential  to go awry.

Dune: Part Two had its own logistical complexities that could have been simplified if shot on a backlot. But she and Villeneuve felt it worth the effort to go all in and head for the desert — lugging all the equipment and Imax cameras — and so did the cast. So they spent months in Abu Dhabi and Jordan, in sands that looked as untouched as the snowy landscapes in The Revenant.

“Obviously there are visual effects (in Dune Part Two). The worms are not real. The ships are not real, but as much of the action as possible is,” she said. “We were actually out there in the desert doing it. To the actors’ credit and everyone else. It was intense, just moving in the sand. When you see Paul [Chalamet] and Chani [Zendaya], that whole scene where they’re with the spice harvester and you see them running across in the same frame, you feel it all, the intensity and the exertion and the heat, and that’s all real. It’s not as though that was shot on a stage with fan brought in and a green screen. We built a big part of the harvester, when they’re moving and jumping between the different legs. That’s not all visual effects; obviously the harvester itself is, but all of that visceral action, all real. So doing all of that, the amount of people of crew of it was very complex work to do on location. But I think that level of reality and authenticity comes through, and I think it makes the action that much more pulse pounding. You looked out at those dunes, and it was otherworldly and the actors will tell you, they were squarely in the world of Dune.

“We all spent more than two months out there,” Parent said. “We got pretty lucky and didn’t have a massive sandstorm. But the sheer physicality of it? I think the crew really felt like they were a part of making something that was special, and just the amount of work and effort to hike up the dunes and be out there, and you see it again and you feel it. When Paul rides the worm for the first time, and he then begins walking down into the sand and then moving up again … you just feel it.”

Key visual effects in Dune Part Two for Chalamet was a pivotal moment where he rides a sandworm. “The sandworm sequence —scene 62! — was shot over the course of three months,” he said. “There was an entire worm unit dedicated to it that our producer Tanya Lapointe, who was also our second unit director, directed, and she was hugely passionate about it. It’s such an important moment in Paul’s entry to the Fremen world, his acceptance by them — other than Chani and Stilgar, of course — and it was so important to get it right. It was incredibly complex. Paul learning how to ride the sandworm is akin to coming of age. It’s a rite of passage and one of the main reasons Paul is accepted amongst the Fremen, because someone who wasn’t one with Shai-Hulud, which is the Fremen word for the sandworm, would have died in that predicament, and Paul doesn’t. He rides the worm.”

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