London, Prague… Desert Planet?

May 2010 – On the Road to Montreal (Montreal Gazette)

Producers from Paramount Pictures were in town last week scouting locations for a remake of the sci-fi cult classic Dune; the producers are choosing between London, Prague and Montreal.

Producers Richard P. Rubinstein, Michael D. Messina and John Harrison were all involved in the 2000 Dune Miniseries and it’s 2003 sequel Children of Dune (Harrison actually wrote both and directed the first) – the miniseries were both filmed at Barrandov Studios in Prague, so could they be contemplating going back for a third time? Mostly, Prague is cheap… however it is also a long way away from Hollywood.

Montreal is more convenient travel-wise, and would also be fairly economical – a lot of US TV (Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, et al)  gets filmed in Canada for that reason, although most is centred around the Vancouver area. I can’t imagine Montreal has the infrastructure necessary to deal with a film of this size.

London is the least economically sound of the three. It is however a hub for big films – Harry Potter, Robin Hood, Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia were all filmed there last year.  It’s a world-beating base of operations that the other two can’t hope to compete with.

It’s also worth noting that while Prince of Persia was largely shot on sets and against green-screens in the UK, exteriors were also shot on location in the deserts Morocco. So don’t rule out the possibility of real sand just because the suggested locations don’t sound particularity Duney :P

With the budget as high as it is (reported to be $175 million) I reckon the smart money is on London, although with the previous (positive) experiences we can’t rule out Prague just yet.

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