Dune Cinematographer Explains How the Film Differs From Star Wars

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the cast of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune remake. Because of this, the film’s equally impressive behind-the-scenes crew has been largely overlooked. That team includes Dune cinematographer Greig Fraser, who previously earned an Oscar nomination for his work on Lion. Fraser has also lent his talents to high-profile films such as Rogue One and Zero Dark Thirty. Fraser recently spoke to Collider about his experience on Villeneuve’s upcoming sci-fi epic. Specifically, he outlined how it differed from other projects he’s been involved with.

Rogue One wasn’t Fraser’s only brush with the Star Wars universe. He also worked on three episodes of The Mandalorian’s first season, including the series’ pilot. But when it came time to shift his attention to Dune, Fraser confessed that he needed to unlearn certain details. This allowed him to start with a clean slate and give the film a unique look.

“It was quite fun because I had to forget a lot of Star Wars when I was making Dune,” said Fraser. “It wasn’t hard, though. Denis and I spoke clearly about how the film should look and should feel, and the formats and this and that, so it was not hard to swerve and change lanes. There were some similarities like the deserts.”

“I mean listen, ultimately I’m positive George Lucas was inspired by Dune when he made Star Wars,” continued Fraser. “I don’t know if that’s sacrilegious to talk about, but there are a lot of similarities in some areas, so you could tell he was definitely influenced by that. So I had to be careful doing both [Dune and The Mandalorian] and not to repeat myself. Also not just for the sake of the movie, but for fun. I hate to do the same thing twice.”

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Fraser also reiterated that Dune will only adapt the first half of Frank Herbert’s novel. But fortunately, he insisted that the film will still present “a fully formed story in itself.” He also described how rewarding it was to work with the cast and crew, particularly Villeneuve.

“I can tell you that Denis is a master and a lovely human being who is passionate and wild and sensitive and loving,” added Fraser. “What I love about Denis is French-Canadians and Australians tend to have a lot of similarities in that we can get a bit passionately aggressive when we need to be. The French-Canadians can be very, very passionate about life and things, so I found getting on with him really well on that, and also Patrice [Vermette] the production designer. I think we all had the same thing of, if something wasn’t good, it’d be like, ‘That’s bulls***!’ and Patrice would be like, ‘Yeah, that’s s***!’ They wouldn’t pull punches, which I found awesome, and we had the same relationship.”

Dune will hit theaters on December 18.

Are you excited to see Fraser’s work on the movie? Let us know in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: Dune (Penguin Galaxy)

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