Denis Villeneuve Was “Deeply Moved” to Learn Which Breakfast Cereal Brought Dune’s Soundscape to Life

The details of Dune continue to be fascinating. There are Hans Zimmer’s unplayable beats. There are the bug wings and cat purrs that go into the sound of the ornithopters. There are production mood boards.

There are also the Rice Krispies and condoms that Denis Villeneuve only recently learned were involved in the making of his epic film.

The latest dive into the production of Dune comes from The New York Times, which interviewed sound editors Mark Mangini and Theo Green, along with Villeneuve, about the film’s Oscar-nominated sounds. The specific noise that the sand of Arrakis makes underfoot? It’s got a certain snap, crackle, and pop—from the cereal Mangini and Green poured onto the desert. Villeneuve, who hadn’t known what created that sound, was delighted when he found out:

“One of the things I love about cinema is the cross between NASA kind of technology and gaffer tape,” Villeneuve said. “To use a super-expensive mic to record Rice Krispies — that deeply moves me!”

He also didn’t know about the condom used to create the sound of a sandworm’s path through the desert. Mangini “had this idea of taking a microphone, covering it with a condom and furrowing it under the ground,” he told The New York Times, to Villeneuve’s surprise.

The piece is full of interesting details, including the fact that the Voice—the commanding tone used by the Bene Gesserit—isn’t just heavily tweaked lines said by the movie’s stars. “Villeneuve and his sound team cast three older women with smoky, commanding voices, then layered their line readings over those of Chalamet and Ferguson,” Kyle Buchanan writes. One of those women was the iconic singer Marianne Faithfull, who, it turns out, was once close friends with Charlotte Rampling, who plays the Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit. Even Arrakis is a small world after all.

Dune is now streaming on HBO Max.


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