The New Dune Movie Is Being Written By the Man Who Wrote Forrest Gump

A still from David Lynch’s Dune. The franchise is now being rebooted. Image: Universal
A still from David Lynch’s Dune. The franchise is now being rebooted. Image: Universal

But we don’t think that should worry you.

Variety reports that Eric Roth, who won an Oscar for his adapted screenplay for Forrest Gump, has been hired to adapt the Frank Herbert novel Dune for director Denis Villeneuve. Roth also wrote The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Insider, Munich, Ali, and many, many more. So even though you say the words “Forrest Gump” and some people get nauseous, Roth is still a writer who is respected and has worked with some of the best filmmakers of all time: Fincher, Mann, Spielberg, and Zemeckis, just to name a few.


This is good news.

Dune, of course, is set on the distant desert planet Arrakis and follows a deeply woven story that combines politics, science fiction, and action. The novel was released in 1965 and was famously adapted into a 1984 film by David Lynch. Last year, Legendary acquired the rights to the entire universe from Herbert’s estate and set Villeneuve, director of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, to make the first film.

Hiring a writer of Roth’s caliber as the next step shows a real eye for quality and talent. This isn’t a project anyone is taking lightly. Even if Roth has previously only written one science fiction film: Kevin Costner’s The Postman.


Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo. Formerly of Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and Slashfilm. AP Award-Winning Film Critic and CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.



I fear how this adapts in modern movie culture.

It’s going to be damn impossible to pull off in a reasonable length film. I doubt studios are going to be OK with a 3 hour or longer epic.

On the other hand, I often cite Dune as an example of how decompressed modern book series have become. Consider this list of plot points: in a dystopian future, Young Hero full of angst and uncertainty, displaced from his upbringing, rumors of being The Destined One, political conspiracies beyond his knowledge, betrayal, escape, and a vow to return to claim his rightful place! Modern books call that a “character arc” and it’s book one, but it’s really just an incomplete story as merely act 1 of a great work. Modern book two is meeting the new sidekicks, training, and starting up a war, three is basically one long scene of the final battle and fans complaining it jumped the shark somewhere. There’s nothing to stop Hollywood from making this The Dune Trilogy, and splitting the third movie into two parts half way thru production. This could drop to the lowest common denominator very quickly, regardless of who’s the screenwriter.