Dune 2 director Denis Villeneuve says "difficult" Blade Runner 2049 still keeps him up at night: "Why did I do that?"

Ana de Armas and Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Denis Villeneuve may have just tackled a two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert's dense sci-fi epic Dune, but the director has revealed that another genre sequel was much more of a challenge – so much so that it still keeps him up at night. 

That would be Blade Runner 2049, the 2017 sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 film. "Blade Runner is one of my favorite films, and it's absolutely a masterpiece" Villeneuve told The Hollywood Reporter. "Ridley Scott is one of my favorite filmmakers, and even though he had given his blessing, it was very important for me to hear it and see it in his eyes that he was okay with me doing the movie at the time. But I was constantly thinking about the original film as I was making Blade Runner 2049. It was impossible not to."

Set 30 years after the original movie, Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard and he's joined by Ryan Gosling as K, a young replicant blade runner working for the LAPD. When he discovers a long-buried secret that threatens to destabilize everything he knows, K decides to track down Deckard, who's been missing for three decades.

"2049 was really a love letter to the first film, but it was by far one of the most difficult projects I've ever done, and I don't think I will ever approach someone else's universe again," he continued. "I still wake up sometimes at night, saying, 'Why did I do that?' I'd declined a few other projects of that scale, but at the time, I said to myself, 'It's a crazy project, but it's worth the risk of losing everything.'"

Villeneuve's latest foray into sci-fi, Dune: Part Two, has broken records at the box office with the biggest opening weekend of 2024. The sequel sees Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Rebecca Ferguson return to Arrakis, and they're joined by new characters played by Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken, and Austin Butler. 

Dune: Part Two is out now in theaters. If you've already seen the movie, take a look at the rest of our coverage: 

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.