First, I will break your heart. If you didn’t know, Roger Deakins did not serve as the director of photography on Denis Villeneuve‘s upcoming sci-fi epic adaptation of Dune, despite their sterling trilogy of Prisoners, Sicario, and Blade Runner 2049. I know, I know. But Dune is shot by the more than wonderful Greig Fraser (Rogue One, The Batman), and you’ll always have the Denis/Deakins trilogy to return to. Plus — and now I get to put your heart back together again — Villeneuve was recently a guest on Deakins’ delightful podcast, and their conversation was, well, delightful.
First of all — while Deakins did not shoot Dune, his influence was mightily felt. Villeneuve felt like he learned a ton working with Deakins, and he made his praise known (quotes h/t IndieWire):
When I am working with you, I’m going to be in a position where I’m going to learn about filmmaking every day. I’m in a learning process working with you. It’s very rewarding and exciting. Right now I am doing VFX on Dune, and I found myself talking about light and asking for things and I’m like, “I know it’s Roger”… I realize how much sometimes the amount of things I’ve learned from you. I’m not saying you’ll agree with me when you see the thing, but I just know of sensibilities that I strongly increased being with you and working on Blade Runner. It was a formative experience. To design the movie from the storyboards until the very end by your side, it’s insane the amount of things I learned.
Second of all: Awwww! What a wonderful film bromance! Despite Villeneuve’s penchant for making films that I’d call “deeply bummer-ific (but in a good way),” it seems like he’s a sweet guy who likes to give credit where credit’s due! And third of all: Even though Dune ain’t a Deakins joint, it seems like we’ll see his influence shining bright.
As for Blade Runner 2049, possibly Villeneuve and Deakins’ peak? Villeneuve… hasn’t, uh watched it:
It’s a movie that I was not able to watch again. It takes time to be able to digest and make peace with [your own movies]. For me, when I make a movie, there’s a lot of deep joy and pain and anger linked with the process. When it’s done, it takes me years until I am able to watch it again and see the movie for what it is. I am not there with Blade Runner.
Denis, I feel you. Once my older brother accidentally deleted my save file on Pokémon Red, and I haven’t played it sense. The pain! The equal pain!
Finally, Villeneuve teased the scope of his next project:
It would be healthy for me to do something small. It will be good to go back to the size of something like Sicario where I am not having to dream about the design of a car or the design of a wallet or gun for months before. I can just embrace the scale for what it is. It will be nice to go there.
Hey, Villeneuve, I know a DP who might be able to shoot that for you…
Listen to the entirety of the lovely podcast here. For more on Dune, check out our interview with Fraser.