Dune director Denis Villeneuve has a simple response to MovieMaker‘s prompt regarding what advice he’d give his early self who is just starting out in the industry.
“To relax and to take my time,” he told MovieMaker. “I was rushing and I should’ve taken more of my time.”
Villeneuve was being celebrated alongside the producers of The Power of the Dog and Nightmare Alley (all best picture nominees) among others at an event celebrating Canadian Oscar nominees at the Los Angeles residence of Canada’s Consul General Zaib Shaikh.
A French-Canadian, Villeneuve’s Incendies was nominated for best foreign language film in 2011. His big breakthrough was his follow feature: 2013’s Prisoners, a dark allegory about America that premiered at the Telluride Film Festival.
Science-fiction became the genre Villeneuve has found the most success, garnering eight Oscar nominations for 2016’s Arrival, which his sci-fi epic Dune bests this year with 10 nominations.
Out of those 10 nominations, Villeneuve was not nominated for best director however, which surprised many when the nominees were announced in early February. But Villeneuve took the perceived snub in stride when he told MovieMaker around that time: “I don’t take things for granted.”
“You tell me what I should be doing,” is what he would tell the early him.
“I actually wish I had a little more of my early me in me now: that young, excited, fucking obsessed filmmaker,” Director X adds. “All he wanted to do was look at art and photography and magazines and read. And as you get older, this older shit gets in there, retirement… things that are legitimate concerns that you can’t even imagine when you’re in your 20s.”
Ben Proudfoot — who is nominated for the second time for best documentary short for “The Queen of Basketball” — kept the advice to his former self, short and practical: “Don’t believe it until the check clears.”
Moviemaker Chell Stephen echoed Villeneuve’s “relax” sentiment when offering theoretical advice to “Little Chell.”
“Don’t stress too hard about everything working out exactly as you want it to,” she said.
“Things take a long time and they almost always make sense in hindsight, the way they played out the way they did,” she continued. “There’s no guarantees on the end results, so it’s so important to have the most fun you can in the process, because sometimes that’s all there is. And it is really fun. It’s a fun way to live, and the people you meet are amazing. And the more you can focus on being in the moment, the more special the work actually is.”
Main image: Dune director Denis Villeneuve and Nightmare Alley director Guillermo del Toro at the Canadian Consul in Los Angeles. Photo by George Pimentel/Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles