Sci-fi blockbuster 'Dune' brings stars to Venice
Journalists and industry folk were ordered to hand in their phones to prevent any shots leaking out from the screenings.
Meanwhile, fans prepared for a cavalcade of stars to descend on Venice’s glitzy Lido island, including Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac and Javier Bardem.
With a $165-million budget and a critically adored director in Canadian Denis Villeneuve, hopes are high that the film can shake the curse that has attached to previous attempts to adapt the landmark 1960s novel.
Through hits like “Sicario” and “Arrival,” Villeneuve has put himself alongside Christopher Nolan as one of the rare directors who can deliver deadly serious cinema that also pulls in the punters.
He has also proved his worth to sci-fi fans with “Blade Runner 2049”, a lauded sequel to the Ridley Scott classic.
The build-up has not been all roses, with the release delayed by almost a year due to the pandemic.
Villeneuve has also clashed with Warner Bros over its decision to release the film on streaming platforms at the same time as cinemas.
He told Total Film that decision was “ridiculous,” saying: “The best way I can compare it is to drive a speedboat in your bathtub.”
The film is playing out of competition at Venice, which had a particularly starry line-up on Sept. 3, with Kristen Stewart also premiering her biopic of Princess Diana, “Spencer.”
Set many millennia in the future, “Dune” follows the tribal battles for control of “spice,” a drug that extends life and delivers prophetic powers, on the inhospitable planet of Arrakis, which also happens to be infested with giant worms.
The brainchild of author Frank Herbert, “Dune” was first published in 1965 and became a six-volume space opera of massive influence, not least on “Star Wars.”