Dune Sequel Had a Secret Premiere 6 Weeks Ago

Director Denis Villeneuve screened film for sick man in Quebec palliative care facility as his dying wish
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2024 7:53 AM CST
Dune Sequel Had a Secret Premiere 6 Weeks Ago
This image shows Timothee Chalamet in a scene from "Dune: Part Two."   (Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

Dune: Part Two saw its official wide release on Friday—but a dying man in a Canadian palliative care facility had his own secret screening six weeks before the premiere, thanks to one woman's determination to fulfill his final wish. Josee Gagnon, whose L'Avant charity helps guide people through their last days, reached out to director Denis Villeneuve to let him know the man wanted to see the sequel before he left this Earth, and the rest is heartwarming history.

  • How it started: A cryptic post on Facebook in early January kicks this story off. "Hi FB Friends! I would like to pull a magic trick for someone at the end of their life," Gagnon wrote. "Would anyone be able to put me in contact with filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (director of Dune) by chance????"
  • Villeneuve responds: Per the CBC, a local filmmaker put Gagnon in touch with the director, whose team at first wanted to fly the sick man, said to be in his 50s, to Los Angeles or Montreal. "I said, 'You don't understand ... there's no way to move him,'" Gagnon says. "We don't even know if he's going to be here next week."
  • Change in plans: That's when their mission became a "race around the clock," Gagnon tells the Washington Post. Villeneuve's assistant flew to the man's Quebec facility with Villeneuve's laptop—and a copy of the completed movie—in hand, where the dying man was able to view it in his room with a friend. "Secrecy was paramount—those involved signed nondisclosure agreements and put away their phones to avoid leaks," notes the Post.
  • The screening: Gagnon says the man wasn't well enough to watch the whole movie (he stopped about halfway through) and died a few days later, but she still considers their efforts a success. "This man who had had a very difficult start to life saw extremely important people mobilize to fulfill his final will," she wrote in a follow-up Facebook post on Friday. "This was worth all the gold in the world." Gagnon also tells Global News that he loved what he did manage to see.
  • Villeneuve's reaction: The filmmaker hasn't commented, but Gagnon says Villeneuve and his wife, Tanya Lapointe, an executive producer on the movie, were "extremely touched" by the sick man's plight. "They told me, 'It's precisely for him that we make films,'" Gagnon tells the Post.
(More uplifting news stories.)

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