Denis Villeneuve had a very clear idea in his head about what adaptation should be like and has managed to get as close to it as possible.
Denis Villeneuve has made a Dune just as I had in mind. The director was shocked by Frank Herbert’s novel when he read it at the age of 14, at which point he wanted to be a filmmaker or a biologist, both professions driven by the beauty of history. Fortunately, he took the cinematic path and decades later fulfilled his dream by bringing the Atreides legacy to the big screen.
‘Dune’ reaches 75 million dollars in gross without having been released in the United States and China
The director was very clear about how the locations, the tone and the actors should be. For this last element, he depended on the agendas and wishes of the interpreters, but he was very lucky and almost everyone he contacted enthusiastically said yes.
It was wonderful because most of my first options were available and willing to go on this journey with me.
Paul Atreides, the protagonist of the story, had to be Timothée Chalamet. The actor’s skills made him the perfect candidate for the role. Furthermore, Villeneuve did not see another in his place. “The election process for Timothée Chalamet was very simple: there was no process. There was only Timothée. I didn’t have a plan B. I was going to do Dune with Timothée Chalamet, period. And fortunately it was not difficult to convince him because he loved the script and we both wanted to work together, “says the filmmaker in the film’s production notes.
Why could only he be Paul Atreides? Because he has the same open-minded and curious personality as his character. “The first thing is that Timothée is very reflective and that is something that is reflected in his eyes. He is someone who has doubts, who will reimagine the world around him, accept a different reality and adapt to a new reality. That requires a lot of intelligence , adaptability, and it’s something I wanted to see in Paul Atreides, “continues the director.
His father, Duke Leto, is played by Oscar Isaac. In his case, the role suited him for other reasons. Isaac is a staunch fan of Frank Herbert’s novel. When he learned that Villeneuve was developing an adaptation, he called to collaborate with him. “Years later, when he told me that he wanted me to be part of his film, I was thrilled. Nobody is making the films that Denis makes: they are huge, deep, artistic, beautiful and poetic films on a large scale, “recalls the actor.
Another actor who did not go through tests or auditions was Josh Brolin. I already knew Denis Villeneuve from his work on Hitman and the filmmaker thought of him to join the cast as Gurney Halleck, the Atreides’ weapons master. It was something similar to what happened with Dave Bautista. He had worked with the filmmaker on Blade Runner 2049 And when he called him personally to offer him the role, he was deeply flattered: “I have worked very hard to establish myself as an actor and having someone of the caliber of Denis Villeneuve call me personally means a lot.”
Jason Momoa, who plays the man of action of the house, Duncan Idaho, did not hesitate for a moment to say yes to the director. “I was shocked when Denis Villeneuve called me because he is one of my five favorite directors alive or dead! I love him and I love all his films, he is a god to me, “Momoa acknowledges in the production notes. Rebecca Ferguson, the magnificent Lady Jessica of the Bene Gesserit, also could not object to working with Villeneuve and worked very closely with him to outline the personality of the mother of House Atreides, as well as her desires, fears and concerns.
The villain of the film, Baron Harkonnen, ended up in the hands of Stellan Skarsgård. Like his colleagues, what attracted him to the project was, in the first place, working with Villeneuve. “I wanted to work with Denis. He is a very interesting director and always creates his own universe,” says the actor. The second thing that attracted him was the character. Skarsgård saw it as a small role with a huge physical presence. “It casts a shadow over the whole movie, and that’s what the bad guy needs,” he says.
You can see everyone in action on the big screen, as Dune It is still on the bill after its premiere on September 17.
If you want to be up to date and receive the premieres in your mail, sign up for our Newsletter