Why Dune Director Shot Desert Scenes in Abu Dhabi’s Hottest Period

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Why Dune Director Shot Desert Scenes in Abu Dhabi’s Hottest Period

Dune director Denis Villeneuve explains his reasons for filming scenes in the “mesmerizing” Liwa Desert in Abu Dhabi in peak summer temperatures.

The director of Dune, Denis Villeneuve, explains why the desert scenes were shot in Abu Dhabi during the hottest period of the year. The highly-anticipated sci-fi feature boasts a stellar cast including Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem and Stellan Skarsgard, to name a few. Based on the 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert, Dune is set in the distant future and primarily focuses on Paul Atreides (Chalamet), son of Duke Leto Atreides (Isaac), after his family accepts a stewardship on the desert planet Arrakis. The plot revolves around the struggle for the control of Arrakis and its drug called “spice,” which is known to grant superhuman capabilities and assist space navigation.

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Villeneuve has become one of the most sought-after directors over the last decade, with an impressive filmography that consists of critically acclaimed titles like Enemy, Prisoners and Sicario. He also acquired the much-needed experience of directing sci-fi epics like Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 before he ventured into making Dune. The French-Canadian director is known for his complex stories and unique visual style, the latter of which is brilliantly highlighted in his use of filming locations. Filming for Dune took place in Hungary, Jordan and Norway, but the location used as the main backdrop for the planet of Arrakis was the Liwa Desert in Abu Dhabi. It was also the setting for the planet Jakku in JJ Abrams’ 2015 feature, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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