Production Notes

SCI FI Channel's December 2000 presentation of New Amsterdam Entertainment's Emmy Award-winning six-hour epic Frank Herbert's Dune was a star-studded action adventure that wove a complex tale of messianic compulsion, ruthless power manipulation, back-stabbing betrayal and heart-rending love. Wrapped in a stunningly visual package, the miniseries garnered two Emmy Awards (Outstanding Cinematography/Special Visual Effects) and became the most-watched program in the history of the SCI FI Channel. It also earned a place among the Top 10 highest-rated original basic cable miniseries in the past five years.

Frank Herbert's Dune told of the adventures of young Paul Atreides, heir to a political dynasty and destined to become the next messiah. Taking place amidst an ongoing power struggle among the Great Royal Houses in the year 10191, the saga began with the Emperor sending House Atreides to the desert planet Arrakis to oversee production of "spice" the most precious commodity in the universe. But when Paul's father, Duke Leto Atreides, is assassinated by rivals within House Harkonnen, Paul and his mother, a mystical 'Bene Gesserit' witch with powers of mind control, are forced to escape into the desert. Under his mother's tutelage, Paul hones his own considerable Bene Gesserit gifts, and begins to see into the future. Rescued by the Fremen, a fierce desert people who believe the young Atreides to be 'Mah'di' the messiah of their legends Paul begins to recognize his power to shape the future.

Eventually, Paul accepts the mantle of his fate. Using the Fremen "desert power," Paul, now known as Muad'Dib, leads his people in a successful revolt against his enemies in the corrupt House Harkonnen. As this first miniseries in the Dune saga draws to a close, Muad'Dib unites the ruling houses and preserves peace by marrying the Emperor's daughter, Princess Irulan. But it is a marriage in name only, as his heart belongs to his concubine, Chani, the future mother of his heir.

In Frank Herbert's Children of Dune, we rejoin Muad'Dib twelve years later. He has come to witness his glorious revolution become a bloody jihad, with all manner of corruption performed in his name. While bound to Irulan in a loveless marriage made for political expediency, Paul has become Emperor of a society terrorized by its own soldiers. The freedom he fought for has become a dictatorship of his own making, and he has become the figurehead of a theocracy of which he wants no part.

Further complicating matters, conspiracies to gain political power abound, especially from Irulan's sister, Princess Wensicia. Paul's power base is also eroding from within. His highly ambitious sister, Alia, is gaining a political foothold. He is surrounded by corrupt priests and bureaucrats and eventually comes to realize that the only hope for the future may lay in the hands of his twin heirs, son Leto II and daughter Ghanima. Ultimately, the only salvation from the revolution begun by Muad'Dib may be the absolute destruction of his myth. And the tempest begun by the father must somehow be ended by the son.

JOHN HARRISON, director of Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, writer of Dinosaur and writer/director of Frank Herbert's Dune was entrusted with the job of adapting Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, the second and third novels respectively of Frank Herberts's six-book Dune Chronicles, into another blockbuster television event. Frank Herbert's Children of Dune marks the first time that either book has been adapted for the large or small screen.

According to Harrison, "Children of Dune is a musing on several themes that come out of Frank Herbert's work. One is that every revolution contains the seeds of its own destruction. The second is a phrase that comes right from Herbert, but is applicable to human history, 'when religion and politics ride in the same cart, the whirlwind follows.'"

Children of Dune's stellar ensemble cast includes Academy Award-winner SUSAN SARANDON as the deliciously evil Princess Wensicia, ALICE KRIGE, EDWARD ATTERTON, STEVEN BERKOFF, and newcomers DANIELA AMAVIA, JAMES MCAVOY and JESSICA BROOKS. Reprising their roles from the first miniseries are ALEC NEWMAN as Paul, BARBARA KODETOVA as Chani, JULIE COX as Princess Irulan and P.H. MORIARTY as Gurney Halleck.

Many members of the extraordinary production team who worked on Frank Herbert's Dune have also returned for the production of Frank Herbert's Children of Dune. Leading the team again is Executive Producer RICHARD P. RUBINSTEIN, whose credits include the 8-hour Stephen King's The Stand and Stephen King's Pet Sematary. Emmy-winning Producer DAVID KAPPES (Anne Frank) also returns, as do Emmy-winning Visual Effects Supervisor ERNEST D. FARINO, Editor HARRY B. MILLER, III, Associate Producer MICHAEL MESSINA, and Academy Award-winning Costume Designer THEODOR PISTEK (Amadeus).

New to the Dune miniseries family are Director GREG YATAINES (CSI: Miami, The Invisible Man), Director of Photography, ARTHUR REINHART and Emmy-winning production designer, ONDREJ NEKVASIL (Anne Frank).

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