A Fan’s Dying Wish Was to See the Latest Unreleased ‘Dune’ Film – So the Director Sent Him His Laptop

Inspiring Stories

*Featured image contains photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

The sci-fi saga, Dune: Part 2, may be shattering the box office, but it’s the director’s heartwarming deed for a terminally ill man that is shattering our hearts.

Six weeks before the movie’s release, Denis Villeneuve received an impassioned plea from a palliative care worker in Quebec, Canada (where, coincidentally, Villeneuve is from). A middle-aged man in end-of-life care wished he could see the movie before he died.

However, with only days left to live, it seemed unlikely.

But then, Villeneuve’s assistant showed up at his bedside.

How a Facebook Post Grabbed the Attention of Dune’s Director

According to her Facebook page, L’Avant, Josée Gagnon is a palliative support worker in the business of creating magical moments for terminally ill patients and their families.

Although this one seemed completely outside the realm of possibility, she knew she still had to try.

Gagnon took to social media for help.

“Hi FB Friends!” she wrote. “I would like to pull a magic trick for someone at the end of their life. Would anyone be able to put me in contact with filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (director of Dune) by chance????”

“I know it’s ambitious but I’ve always succeeded in my crazy ideas so, I’m dark with naivety and hope. Know anyone who knows anyone???”

Josée Gagnon via Facebook

Miraculously, twelve hours later, she got a response.

A Race Against the Clock

Turns out, the world is actually a pretty small place. One guy, Sébastien Pilote, knew a girl, Tanya LaPointe, who just so happened to be one of the movie’s producers…AND Villeneuve’s wife.

At best, Gagnon hoped Villeneuve would send her patient a video like, “Thanks for liking my movies blablabla… “

He did send a video…of the ENTIRE MOVIE.

As soon as LaPointe told her husband about the man, the duo got to work on making his wish come true.

Initially, they wanted to fly him to either Los Angeles or Montreal for the movie’s premiere.

However, after Gagnon told them, “You don’t understand, he’s at the end, there’s no way to move him,” they quickly moved to Plan B.

On January 16, ten days after Gagnon’s Facebook post and six weeks before the movie’s official premiere, Villeneuve’s assistant hopped aboard a plane, her boss’s personal laptop in hand.

She made it in the nick of time.

A Man Gets His Dying Wish

After non-disclosure contracts were signed and cell phones turned over, the assistant told the man he could choose one person to watch it with. He chose one of the center’s caregivers.

“She took everyone’s phones away and played the movie on the laptop for just the two of them in his room. Neither she nor I watched it. It was just really big deal,” Gagnon told Global News.

“I was told even the President of the United States wasn’t able to see it before its release.”

Despite being too weak to watch the movie to the end, Gagnon said “It didn’t really matter.”

What mattered was that people took the time and effort to honor his final wish, and by doing so, they honored him.

“This man who had had a very difficult start to life saw extremely important people mobilize to fulfill his final will….this was worth all the gold in the world,” she wrote in an update.

Sadly, he died a couple of days later.

The Impact of Art and Storytelling

Villeneuve’s decision to fulfill a stranger’s dying wish over commercial considerations speaks volumes about the kind of man he is and why he creates films in the first place — for the fans.

But even more than that, the fact that a dying man’s final wish was to see a movie showcases the profound impact art can have on our lives.

Of everything he could have asked for, he chose three hours of pure, cinematic magic.

“He is precisely what movies are made for.”

Denis Villeneuve

Villeneuve gave the man a gift, but in the end, he’s the one who received the greatest gift of all: the chance to honor someone in their final act.

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