Frank Herbert's Dune

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the TV miniseries. For the video game of the same name, see Frank Herbert's Dune (video game).
Frank Herbert's Dune
Written by Frank Herbert (novel)
John Harrison
Directed by John Harrison
Starring William Hurt
Alec Newman
Saskia Reeves
Ian McNeice
Julie Cox
Giancarlo Giannini
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Richard P. Rubinstein
Mitchell Galin
Cinematography Vittorio Storaro
Running time 265 min
295 min (Director's cut)
Followed by Frank Herbert's Children of Dune

Frank Herbert's Dune is a three-part miniseries written and directed by John Harrison and based on Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune.

The series was produced by New Amsterdam Entertainment, Blixa Film Produktion and Hallmark Entertainment Distribution. It was first broadcast in the United States on December 3, 2000, on the Sci Fi Channel. It was later released on DVD in 2001, with a director's cut appearing in 2002.

A 2003 sequel miniseries called Frank Herbert's Children of Dune continued the story, adapting the second and third novels in the series (1969's Dune Messiah and its 1976 sequel Children of Dune). As of 2004, both miniseries were two of the three highest-rated programs ever to be broadcast on the Sci Fi Channel.[1]

Frank Herbert's Dune won two Emmy Awards in 2001 for Cinematography and Visual effects in a miniseries/movie, as well as being nominated for a third Emmy for Sound editing. The series was also praised by several critics, including Kim Newman.[2]

The miniseries was shot in Univisium (2.00:1) aspect ratio, although it was broadcast in 1.78:1.

Main cast[edit]

Actor Role
William Hurt Duke Leto Atreides
Alec Newman Paul Atreides/Muad'Dib
Saskia Reeves[3] Lady Jessica
James Watson Duncan Idaho
Jan Vlasák Thufir Hawat
P.H. Moriarty Gurney Halleck
Robert Russell Dr. Wellington Yueh
Laura Burton Alia Atreides
Ian McNeice Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
Matt Keeslar Feyd-Rautha
László I. Kish Glossu Rabban
Jan Unger Piter De Vries
Giancarlo Giannini Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV
Julie Cox Princess Irulan
Miroslav Táborský Count Hasimir Fenring
Uwe Ochsenknecht Stilgar
Barbora Kodetová Chani
Jakob Schwarz Otheym
Karel Dobrý Liet-Kynes
Christopher Lee Brown Jamis
Jaroslava Šiktancová Shadout Mapes
Zuzana Geislerová Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam


Director John Harrison has described his adaptation as a "faithful interpretation" in which any changes he made served to suggest what Herbert had explained subtly or not at all.[4] The miniseries introduces elements not found in Herbert's novel, but according to the director, these serve to elaborate rather than to edit.[4]

Herbert's novel begins with lead character Paul Atreides being 15 years old and aging to 18 over the course of the story. Harrison aged the character to adulthood in order to increase the quality of the acting for this crucial role.[5]

The miniseries invents an extensive subplot for Princess Irulan, a character who plays little part in the plot of the first novel. Harrison felt the need to expand Irulan's role because she played such an important part in later books, and epigraphs from her later writings opened each chapter of Dune.[4][6] Additionally, the character gave him a window into House Corrino.[4] Besides the final scene, the only one of Irulan's appearances based on an actual excerpt from the novel is her visit to Feyd-Rautha. However, in the book it is a different Bene Gesserit, Margot Fenring, who visits the Harkonnen heir, on assignment from the Bene Gesserit to "preserve the bloodline" by retrieving his genetic material (through conception) for their breeding program. The miniseries does not suggest this as Irulan's motive.


A soundtrack album for the miniseries was released by GNP Crescendo Records on December 3, 2000. It contains 27 tracks composed by Graeme Revell and performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.[7]


  1. ^ Ascher, Ian (2004). "Kevin J. Anderson Interview". (Internet Archive). Archived from the original on July 3, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2007. 
  2. ^ See Science Fiction/Horror by Kim Newman, BFI Publishing, 2002.
  3. ^ Harrison has stated in interviews that actress Alice Krige was his first choice to play Jessica, but she was unavailable and Reeves won the role. Krige would later play the role in the sequel miniseries when Reeves was unavailable.
  4. ^ a b c d Fritz, Steve (December 4, 2000). "DUNE: Remaking the Classic Novel". Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Ask John Harrison". (Internet Archive). 2000. Archived from the original on July 2, 2008. Retrieved July 2, 2008. 
  6. ^ Julie Cox's narration at the beginning and end of the miniseries reflects Irulan's later role as historian of the Atreides empire, illustrated by Herbert through epigraphs.
  7. ^

External links[edit]