Hans Zimmer's score for block-buster Dune features 30 Edinburgh bagpipers

The director of sci-fi film Dune, Denis Villeneuve, has revealed that parts of Hans Zimmer’s score for the movie were recorded in Edinburgh.

By Anna Bryan
Thursday, 28th October 2021, 12:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th October 2021, 12:28 pm

Many Scottish viewers picked up on the sound of bagpipes while watching the film adaption of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, which was released in UK cinemas on October 21.

While legendary composer Hans Zimmer wrote the music for Dune, it was actually director Villeneuve who came up with the idea to include bagpipes.

Zimmer spoke to Indie-Wire about the inclusion of the instrument. He said: “I asked Denis about it and he said he wanted something ancient and organic for such an occasion, so I embraced it.

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Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in a scene from Dune PIC: Chia Bella James

"The pandemic had just started, but lo and behold, within seconds, in Edinburgh, I managed to find 30 bagpipe players, who were more than happy to go into a big church and stand at the right distance from each other and make a fabulous noise.”

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A piper is even featured in the film, in a scene where a family arrives by spaceship to an inhospitable desert planet, named Arrakis.

Villeneuve spoke to the Telegraph about this scene, and said: "I’d always seen Atreides as a kind of Celtic people. So I realised they couldn’t just disembark their ship. They had to be – how you say? Piped out.

Golda Rosheuvel, Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothee Chalamet, Denis Villeneuve, Babs Olusanmokun, Zendaya, Sharon Duncan-Brewster and David Dastmalchian attend a special screening of Dune at the Odeon Leicester Square in London. Picture date: Monday October 18, 2021.

"When I had this idea I ran to my first AD’s office the next morning and said, 'I need bagpipes!' There was a long silence. People thought I was mad but I got Hans Zimmer’s respect for introducing the bagpipes."

Dune recently toppled the James Bond film ‘No Time to Die’ at the UK box office, replacing the thriller in the number one spot. According to Comscore, in its opening weekend, the sci-fi epic made an impressive £5.87 million in the UK.

The film has received mostly positive reviews, however, The Scotsman gave it only two stars, with reviewer Alistair Harkness describing it as “big, bold and boring”. He also criticised the film for being “all set-up and no pay-off”.

The film has a star-studded ensemble cast and stars Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, alongside seasoned actors including Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, and Javier Bardem.

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