The Dune screenplay was written entirely in an MS-DOS program that can only hold 40 pages

Denis Villeneuve's Dune looks to be the cinematic masterpiece that everyone wanted it to be. In a year of cinematic flaccidity, Villeneuve's first half of an epic duology is making waves theatrically and on streaming.

Of course, despite being undoubtedly sci-fi, the world of Dune lacks any computers. There are high-tech machines, but there's no smartphones, no Internet. In order to get closer to the dystopian world, screenwriter Eric Roth abandoned the modern world — mostly — in favour of the clunky 90s.

Eric Roth wrote Dune script in MS-DOS

Reported by Vice, Roth has revealed his writing process in the past. In a video from 2014, the screenwriter explained that he creates every script in a 30-year-old MS-DOS program: Movie Master. Disconnected from the Internet, email and other modern conveniences, Roth sits down and types out his stories on an aging, browned IBM keyboard.

Movie Master's age adds limitations, but then limitations often breed creativity. As the program has limited memory, Roth’s files max out at 40 pages. This means the screenwriter creates every project in succinct acts that can then be polished.

“It has 40 pages and then it runs out of memory, but I like it because it makes acts,” he said. “So if I haven't said it in 40 pages, I'm starting to get in trouble.”

As Roth’s computer doesn't have access to the Internet, finished scripts are printed out, scanned and then sent to studios.

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Other writers that do the same thing

While writing full movie scripts in MS-DOS is still mind-blowing, Roth is not the only writer that sticks to the ancient operating system. Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin revealed that all of the series’ books are written in MS-DOS.

The author revealed years ago that the infamously long books are all written in the ancient word processor, WordStar 4.0. During an interview with talk show host Conan O’Brien, Martin said:

“I actually have two computers. The computer I browse the Internet with have my email on, do my taxes on. Then I have my writing computer, a DOS machine, not connected to the Internet. I use WordStar 4.0 as my word processing system... it does everything I want a word processing program to do. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lower case letter and it becomes a capital letter. I don't want a capital. If I wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital.”

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