‘Dune’ director reveals Paul’s visions were inspired by a weird drug trip


Denis Villeneuve has certainly drawn a lot of inspiration from his personal experiences to bring Frank Herbert’s Dune to life on the big screens, but at least some of that artistic touch has come from an unexpected source that may or may not be as profound as fans would imagine.

Villeneuve was recently up for the Best Director category at the 2022 Directors Guild of America Awards, but lost to The Power of the Dog‘s Jane Campion. Appearing on a panel with his fellow nominees, which included Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), and Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), the acclaimed genre director revealed that Paul’s visions in Dune were inspired by his worst drug trip a few months before the shoot.

“The truth is that one thing that helped me tremendously to direct Timothée [Chalamet] is, my son had cooked a banana cake a few months before we shot the movie, and the banana cake was very ‘spicy’ and I had the worst bad trip of my life,” he said. “But it tremendously helped me, it sounds stupid, but it’s good to experience things yourself sometimes. That bad trip, on marijuana, deeply helped me to direct Timothée in the visions, to explain to him the state I was looking for. And, strangely, when I mentioned the banana cake experience to Timothee, he got it! Here’s the truth. Don’t try this!”

There you have it, people. The common creative denominator that has brought the whole Dune experience together is very bad drug trips. I guess Villeneuve was lucky that Timothée had already experienced the sensation before, or else things would’ve gotten way too method on set.

The filmmaker is currently busy ironing out the kinks from his Dune: Part Two script, with the sequel scheduled to begin shooting this summer in order to meet the slated release date of Oct. 20, 2023.

About the author


Jonathan Wright

Jonathan is a religious consumer of movies, TV shows, video games, and speculative fiction. And when he isn't doing that, he likes to write about them. He can get particularly worked up when talking about 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'A Song of Ice and Fire' or any work of high fantasy, come to think of it.