A man wanted to see ‘Dune 2’ before he died. The director sent his laptop.

“Dune: Part Two,” director Denis Villeneuve’s long-anticipated second chapter of the science-fiction epic, hit theaters this weekend. But it was secretly screened more than six weeks earlier in an unusual location: a palliative care facility, for a movie buff whose last wish was to see the sequel before he died.

With the curtains drawn in a room inside the facility in Quebec, the man, who was in his 50s, and one of his friends watched the film on the screen of Villeneuve’s laptop — which the director’s assistant had flown in that day. Secrecy was paramount — those involved signed nondisclosure agreements and put away their phones to avoid leaks.

Getting the film to the man was a “race against the clock,” Josée Gagnon, whose charity made the moment happen, told The Washington Post.

Gagnon, founder of Canadian charity L’Avant, which is focused on helping people at the end of their lives realize their dreams, detailed the story in a Monday interview and in a recent Facebook post. Gagnon said she was able to speak freely after the film was publicly released, but declined to reveal the man’s identity to protect his privacy.

The race began in January, when L’Avant put out a call on Facebook for anyone who could reach Villeneuve.

“I would like to make some magic for a person at the end of their life,” said the charity’s post. Time was of the essence, the post said, because the person had only “a few more weeks left.” The post did not provide more details about the request — but shortly thereafter, the charity posted that its request had reached Villeneuve.

A representative for Villeneuve declined to comment Monday. Gagnon, in a Facebook post on Friday, said that Villeneuve and his wife, Tanya Lapointe, an executive producer of “Dune: Part Two,” were “extremely touched by this man’s last wish” when they spoke.

“They told me, ‘It’s precisely for him that we make films,’” she recounted.

So they got to work. Villeneuve and his wife initially wanted to fly the man to Montreal or Los Angeles so he could watch the film, Gagnon said in her post and in an interview with Radio-Canada. But, she said in her post, it was “impossible” because he was “too weak.”

“Time was passing. The dying man was dying,” she wrote.

Then, a breakthrough: On Jan. 16, Villeneuve’s assistant flew to Quebec with the director’s laptop, and took it to the palliative care center about 130 miles north of Quebec City, Gagnon said.

The man didn’t speak English and had to watch the film with French subtitles, Gagnon told The Post. He “was so weak that we thought he might die while watching the film,” she wrote on Facebook.

The man ultimately was not able to watch the full 2 hours and 46 minutes of the film. He was in pain and saw only about half of it before he had to stop, Gagnon told The Post. He died a few days later.

He died “taking the secret of the film with him,” Gagnon said in her post.

End of carousel

Gagnon told Radio-Canada’s “Place publique program that some of those involved in the project felt it was a “failure” because the man never got to see the ending of the film.

But she felt differently. “I said: ‘You don’t understand, it’s extraordinary what this man went through. The ending of a film, when you’re going to die, it doesn’t mean anything. … All this existed for him.’”

Missing the ending “didn’t matter,” she said. The man had a “very difficult start to life” and saw people around him — and those who didn’t know him — work to carry out his last wish. And that, she wrote, “was worth all the gold in the world.”

Now, she has just one message: “People have to continue to believe that everything is possible when it is done with heart,” she told The Post.

Following its release, “Dune: Part Two” has turned into a hit with critics and viewers, collecting an estimated $178.5 million across 72 markets in its opening weekend.

Gagnon said in the post that she still hadn’t seen “Dune: Part Two,” but she planned to soon. “I’ll smile like an idiot the whole time thinking about this beautiful story,” she said. “Thinking of him.”


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