Despite being one of the most iconic parts of the film, DunesThe sandworms presented a great challenge to visual effects artists trying to bring the monumental creature to life. With its star-studded cast, Dunes also showcased a hard-working team dedicated to breathing new life into the franchise, and in a new behind-the-scenes look from the director of Warner Bros. Denis Villeneuve and its team of producers and artists get time to shine as they detail the process of bringing sandworms to the big screen.
“We have to believe that these are real creatures,” the producer said. Mary Parent begins, “And in the case of how the Fremen see them, almost divine.” In Dunes lore, sandworms are native to the desert planet Arrakis and are responsible for producing the much-loved “spice” that grants users limited precognition. In the original novel, sandworms can grow up to 9,000 feet long and span hundreds of feet wide, making the literally larger-than-life beast a truly grueling challenge for animators.
With clips from across the desert planet, the featurette shows segments of the worm, with the team focusing on the physics of pushing through tons of sand. According to Villeneuve, they approached the beast focusing on its biology, emphasizing its teeth, scales and mating call. “It was about finding the balance between the artistic goals and what the real-world mechanics might be,” says the visual effects producer. Brice Parker. The team reportedly spent months researching dessert camouflage creatures and their environments to later apply to sandworms.
Supervision of sound editors Marc Magini and Theo Green also appear in the featurette, describing their process of creating the thumping beast sound. Wanting to break away from the traditional monstrous roar, the duo opted to take a more natural route, with Green stating:
“This is the moment when we decided if there was a silent contemplation between the two of them. Then we have something quite unusual. It’s not a monster coming out of the ground. It’s an encounter with God.
Dunes was an immediate box office hit, grossing over $41 million in its opening weekend and marking the best opening of Villeneuve’s career. The film received immediate praise for its visual effects, with critics calling it “surprisingly snappy”. Dunes is up for multiple Oscars this year, including Best Picture, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects. A sequel is currently in development and is expected to bring back much of the same crew and cast as the original.
Dune: part two is scheduled for release on October 20, 2023. Check out the behind-the-scenes featurette below:
The full list of nominees is now available!
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