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“Dune” language creator David J. Peterson discusses working on Villeneuve’s adaptation


Dune AMA

On Wednesday David J. Peterson, the language creator behind “Game of Thrones” and “The Witcher,” held a Reddit Ask Me Anything session. I was one of the lucky few able to get a response from Peterson to my question regarding the top-secret “Dune” adaptation. 

When asked “What was your experience like collaborating with Denis Villeneuve and his team?” Peterson had this to say:

“I had a couple of video chats with Denis, but otherwise was working through intermediaries and with the art department, per usual,” Peterson said. “The thing I was most impressed by at the outset was the script. The biggest question with ‘Dune’ is always how it will be adapted, given Jodorowsky and Lynch’s versions. I was impressed with how naturally and simply this adaption worked.

“After I finished reading it, I thought, ‘Why could no one else do this?’ I haven’t actually seen any of it, so I’m still looking forward to the visual aspect of it, but overall I was delighted. I was especially delighted that I was given the green light to create a writing system – especially as a few had already been created by the art department. I’m really looking forward to releasing that to the world.”

So far, Warner Bros. and Legendary have yet to reveal a trailer for the film, leaving fans to speculate based on a handful of sneak peek photos.

However, Villeneuve’s “Dune” screenplay was leaked online months ago, and the response from those who have seen it has been highly positive, especially for a novel that has proven notoriously difficult to adapt for the screen. Filmmaker Robert Meyer Burnett got his hands on a copy and compared it to “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Godfather.” 

“All of my hopes for this movie were realized when I read this script,” Burnett said on his YouTube channel in February. “It all depends on the execution by Villeneuve, but I think this can be a billion-dollar, worldwide hit. Reading this has made my anticipation jump 10,000 fold.” 

Peterson also clarified during the AMA that he “worked on four different linguistics systems (two spoken, two signed),” as well as a writing system for the film. We’ll be able to hear and see Peterson’s work for ourselves with “Dune” (hopefully) hits theaters December 18.

For more “Dune” updates, follow Johnny on Twitter @JohnnySobczak.

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Johnny Sobczak View All

Johnny Sobczak is an entertainment journalist and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Media and Journalism and minored in Global Cinema. Johnny is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association and has been with Inside the Film Room since August 2019. He was named Senior Writer in January 2020 and co-hosts the Inside the Film Room podcast with Zach Goins. Johnny spends his days job-hunting, watching films and obsessing over every new detail of Denis Villeneuve's "Dune."

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