Dune Director Explains His Approach to Sci-Fi Infused Fight Scenes

While much fuss has been made of the themes, epic scope and giant sandworms that make up this year’s Dune, not much has been said about the action sequences. But, make no mistake, Dune will be packed full of exciting action, particularly hand-to-hand combat, with director Denis Villeneuve now providing some insight into how he and his creative team approached this sci-fi style of fighting.

“In this universe there’s an invention: The Holtzman Shield. It’s something that you can wear on your body, and will deflect something fast coming towards you. Only something slow can penetrate that shield. So, it made them use things like bullets less. Humanity went back to close combat, where you fight with knives and blades because it’s the only way you can kill someone through those shields. You can penetrate the shield slowly with the blade.”

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The recently released trailer gave us a glimpse of this unique fighting style, showing Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) throwing down while wearing the Holtzman Shield. Protecting the wearer from fast moving attacks, the Holtzman Shield is essentially a personal force-field, which is sure to come in handy when navigating the dangerous planet of Arrakis.

Unlike the previous adaptation of Dune, which gave the Holtzman Shield a boxy look, this year’s Dune has gone for something a little slicker, with the characters turning blurry and blue when struck, as glimpsed in the recent trailer.

Dune will be far more than an action movie though, of course, with star Oscar Isaac recently stating how the movie’s “anti-capitalist and environmental” themes make it particularly relevant today. “It’s about the destiny of a people, and the different way that cultures have dominated other ones. How do a people respond when it’s at the tipping point, when enough is enough, when they’re exploited? All those things are things we’re seeing around the world right now.”

Alongside the social commentary, Villeneuve himself has recently disclosed one specific theme from the source novel that he wanted to carry over onto the big screen saying, “Something I deeply love in the book is that there was a strong balance between the masculine power and feminine power,” with the director adding that he made sure to keep these ideas present in the movie adaptation.

The upcoming adaptation of Dune has been described as a mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, and tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

Dune has amassed a hugely impressive cast alongside Jason Momoa that includes Timoth&ée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsg&ård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem. Directed by Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival‘s Denis Villeneuve, who is working from a screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Villeneuve, and Eric Roth, Dune is currently scheduled for release on December 18, 2020. This comes to us from Entertaiment Weekly.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb