On his quest for realism, in bringing Frank Herbert’s Dune universe to life on screen, director Denis Villeneuve led the film’s production across spectacular locations of our own world. Details of their extraordinary film-making journey were chronicled via thousands of photos by Chiabella James. Now the unit photographer’s best work will be published in Dune Part One: The Photography, from Insight Editions. This deluxe photo book is scheduled to hit the shelves on July 25, 2023.

Cover of 'Dune Part One: The Photography' by Chiabella James, a new photo book from Insight Editions.
Front cover featuring desert scenery, with Rebecca Ferguson and Timothée Chalamet in the background. Credit: Chiabella James / Legendary Pictures

Measuring 11 x 10 inches, the hardcover release consists of 282 pages filled with stunning imagery captured by Chiabella throughout the creation of Dunes: Part One. Tanya Lapointe—one of the film’s executive producers and author of The Art and Soul of Dunes—contributed a foreword. This photo book also features a preface by Rebecca Ferguson and an afterword by Brian Herbert.

Today, Insight Editions unveiled several never-before-seen stills (see them all below), previewing the visual content we can expect to see in this behind-the-scenes photography compilation.

'Dune: Part One' behind-the-scenes photography by Chiabella James: Jason Momoa, as Duncan Idaho, in a deleted scene.
In a deleted scene; Duncan Idaho, played by Jason Momoa, surveys the desert after his arrival on Arrakis.

Epic Outdoor Vistas

Whether for the immersion of exploring the vast landscapes of Arrakis or to accompany Paul on a walk along Caladan’s shore, large portions of Dunes: Part One were filmed in beautiful real-world locations, including the deserts of Jordan and the coastal region of Norway respectively. The photo book explores those unique sets and how the film combined elements of nature with the innovation of man-made practical effects.

'Dune: Part One' behind-the-scenes photography by Chiabella James: Desert filming, featuring Denis Villeneuve.
Left: Boom operator György Mihályi and three extras playing spice harvester crew.
Right: Director Denis Villeneuve sits inside a real-size ornithopter’s cockpit.
'Dune: Part One' behind-the-scenes photography by Chiabella James: Babs Olusanmokun and Timothée Chalamet.
Left: Babs Olusanmokun takes shelter from the sun, during filming in Wadi Rum.
Right: Timothée Chalamet and Olusanmokun performing the Paul and Jamis duel.

Precious Behind-the-Scenes Memories

In the lead-up to adapting Dunes, Denis Villeneuve successfully gathered some of this generation’s most talented artisans and performers. James had direct access to both the director and such stars as Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, and Javier Bardem, capturing many of their candid interactions together.

'Dune: Part One' behind-the-scenes photography by Chiabella James: Timothée Chalamet and Denis Villeneuve.
Left: Timothée Chalamet, as Paul Atreides, with training mannequins in the background.
Right: Denis Villeneuve studies camera angles, during filming in the Caladan training room set.
'Dune: Part One' behind-the-scenes photography by Chiabella James: Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Denis Villeneuve, and Sharon Duncan-Brewster.
Left: Rebecca Ferguson and Jason Momoa are guided by Denis Villeneuve.
Right: Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Rebecca Ferguson laughing together.
'Dune: Part One' behind-the-scenes photography by Chiabella James: Javier Bardem and Zendaya.
Left: Javier Bardem refers to notes while rehearsing his lines in Chakobsa, the Freemen language.
Right: Filming of Zendaya’s scenes in Wadi Rum, with a 16mm film camera.

See also

Actor Austin Butler, who plays Feyd in 'Dune: Part Two', speaks to Variety at the 2022 Academy's Governors Awards.

The first print run is planned for 20,000 copies.

About the Author

Chiabella James is a film and portrait photographer from London, England, although she also works regularly from Los Angeles. In addition to still photography for DunesJames’s filmography includes Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Mission: Impossible – Falloutand King Richard. Her photos have been published in Empire, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, and other major media outlets.

Updates (April 9): Added additional details from official catalog listing of Dune Part One: The Photography.

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