“I should shadow you for a few days”: Despite the Iconic Dune Reboot, Denis Villeneuve Still Feels Inferior To James Cameron in One Aspect of Film

Despite the Iconic Dune Reboot, Denis Villeneuve Still Feels Inferior To James Cameron in One Aspect of Film

Denis Villeneuve found himself under the spotlight once again when he created the iconic 2021 movie Dune. Starring Timothée Chalamet alongside Zendaya and an ensemble cast, Villeneuve did something iconic that had beauty in its imperfections.

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That’s what veteran director James Cameron thinks and expressed it when the two directors sat down for a chat in a one-on-one. Comparing Denis Villeneuve’s Dune and James Cameron’s Avatar, the two directors discussed CGI usage vs. being on the actual location and Villeneuve expressed his appreciation for Cameron for being such a precise director.

A still from Denis Villeneuve's Dune (2021)
A still from Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (2021)

Denis Villeneuve Is All Praise For James Cameron

During Variety’s Directors on Directors video, veteran director James Cameron sat down for a chat with Denis Villeneuve. Having recently directed Dune and working on Dune: Part Two, Villeneuve had quite some stories to tell and James Cameron was ready to guide the director.

Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve and Zendaya on the sets of Dune: Part Two

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Talking about how Cameron effectively blends real effects with CGI-heavy shots, Villeneuve stated that he cannot get the precise locations of structures while shooting his scenes. As if Cameron was defending his filmmaking process, the director stated that he had worked with real effects extensively over the 40 years of his career. Denis Villeneuve, however, quickly replied in Variety’s Directors on Directors with a follow-up statement that he loved Cameron’s work and that he would have to shadow the director for a few days if he wanted to learn the process.

“You have all my admiration because you are, I think, working in mostly in virtual environment and I have no idea how you can survive or you can do that, keep your creativity alive in those kinds of environments. It’s amazed me, the way you work” said Villeneuve

In reply, James Cameron stated that the reason he could keep his creativity alive was because he had worked on real locations for years before shifting to a more virtual environment.


“I’ve been in the filmmaking game for about 40 years and I started off with…with all real sets and real tricks and all in camera and all that sort of thing and made an aesthetic and a discipline out of that so if I hadn’t done that, I don’t think I could do all the virtual stuff now”.

James Cameron further went on to praise Denis Villeneuve for his attempt to blend the usage of CGI into real filming scenes seamlessly.

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“There Were No 400 Meter Actual Sandworms,” Remarked James Cameron

James Cameron
James Cameron

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In his interview, James Cameron remarked that Denis Villeneuve also had his fair share of usage of CGI. Joking that there were no actual 400-meter sandworms used in the making of Dune, Denis Villeneuve stated in Variety‘s interview that he would have to shadow James Cameron’s work to learn his tricks.


“When you look at Avatar, [you see] how immersive it was, it meant that you had to, you know, know this world with such an intimacy like if you had been there for real. I should shadow you for a few days to understand how you do it” exclaimed Villeneuve

Although both directors are masters of their craft, Villeneuve is currently gaining traction among the younger audience with his Dune franchise. The director is currently busy filming Dune: Part Two. The first film in the franchise is available to stream on Max in the U.S.

Source: Variety


Written by Visarg Acharya

Visarg Acharya, Associate Content Writer, has been heavily involved in movies, series, and history. Having an experience of 2 years in the field of content writing, Visarg is a seasoned writer. Having a degree in Physics, Visarg Acharya has published a dissertation alongside a plethora of poems and short stories along the way.