Denis Villeneuve Compares Paul’s Journey In Dune To The Godfather’s Michael Corleone

Denis Villeneuve is one of the hottest directors in Hollywood right now. Coming off a string of critically acclaimed films from Prisoners, Sicario to Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve seems like the right man to helm a story as complicated as Dune. As part of Empire’s Celebration issue, Villeneuve spoke about the journey Paul Atreides undertakes in the movie, comparing it to a famous yesteryear character.

According to Villeneuve, Paul is tested heavily in a role with responsibilities that make him question whether he truly wants it or not. He compares this dilemma to Michael Corleone from The Godfather who unwillingly got thrust into the mafioso family business, never looking back. His comparisons don’t stop as he foresees a tragic fate for both characters. In his own words:

Paul has been raised in a very strict environment with a lot of training, because he’s the son of a Duke and one day… he’s training to be the Duke. But as much as he’s been prepared and trained for that role, is it really what he dreams to be? That’s the contradiction of that character. It’s like Michael Corleone in The Godfather – it’s someone that has a very tragic fate and he will become something that he was not wishing to become.

Villeneuve spends more time talking about Paul’s survival abilities and how crucial they are in the harsh world of Arrakis filled with Sandworms. He explains:

His survival depends on being able to make the right decisions and adapt to different dangerous situations. It’s a very beautiful story about someone that becomes empowered. Like any young adult he is looking for his identity and trying to understand his place in the world, and he will have to do things that none of his ancestors were able to do in order to survive. He has a beautiful quality of being curious about other people, of having empathy, something that will attract him towards other cultures, and that’s what will save his life.

We recently saw a new still emerge from this very coverage (albeit the one I’ve shared is an unwatermarked version). Empire’s complete magazine coverage might have a thing or two more about Dune that we haven’t managed to fully catch thus far. I’ll look out for details and share them as soon as I’ve scrounged them.

Dune is set for a Dec 18, 2020 release date.