The onset of the global pandemic has halted production and release of many films, although some have released through various OTT platforms, some choose to wait for a later date this year. Dune, like many other films, is set to release later this year in December.
The makers of the film released the impressive first look in April via Instagram and henceforth garnered a lot of praise from the general public. The cast includes stars like Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Issac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, David Dastmalchian, Stephen McKinley and Charlotte Rampling.
Dune is an adaptation of the 1965 sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert. In 2003 the first book of the Dune saga was called the world’s best selling science fiction novel. In 1984, David Lynch was inspired by this novel and made a movie which was not well received by fans of this book or critics. A mini-series was made in the year 2000 for the cable network and was also a hit, but it is now vaguely remembered by the audience.
Timothee Chalamet recalls filming in Jordan as a “surreal experience” and said that it felt like they were not on Earth anymore. It is not supposed to look/feel like as they on a planet called Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s epic novel. Arrakis is the only known location of “spice” which is the galaxy’s most vital resource. In this movie directed by Denis Villeneuve, Timothee Chalamet plays a young royal called Paul Atreides, who is fighting to protect his new home. In Arrakis, humans are the aliens, and the dominant species here are immense sandworms that drift like subterranean dragons.
As the Dune production moved to regions outside Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the temperature of 100 degrees rivalled the novel’s setting in real life. Chalamet remembers the costumes of Dune called “stillsuits” as a thick, rubbery armour, which in the movie is life-giving but in real life was agony. The plot of Dune focuses on two families struggling for supremacy over the planet Arrakis and to make it difficult for the filmmakers. Herbert’s novel was hailed for its intricate world-building and ecological aspect in the 1960s.
The director Denis Villeneuve wants to create a world of Dune that till now has only existed in the imagination of its readers. Villeneuve believes that the world of Dune is too complex to be adapted into a single movie, and so this movie will only be half of the novel with the producers ready to tell the story in two films. For Villeneuve, this story is not only a complex space adventure but also a prophecy and he calls it a distant reality of capitalism and exploitation of Earth.
Chalamet’s character, Paul hails from a powerful galactic family and has a supernatural gift to change the world, unleash energy, lead others to their new home, but is just a boy struggling to find a place in the world. His father, Duke Leto is played by Oscar Issac and mother Lady Jessica is played by Rebecca Ferguson who takes their son to Arrakis to extract “Spice”. With their arrival, a clash takes place with criminals connected to House Harkonnen, led by Baron Vladimir played by Stellan Skarsgard whose character is more of a predator and less of a madman.
The role of Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica, played by Rebecca Ferguson has been expanded, and she’s a member of the Bene Gesserit. The members of this sect are women who can read minds, control people with their voice and manipulate the balance of power in this universe. The script is written by Denis Villeneuve along with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts and they have also updated the role of Dr Liet Kynes, now played by Sharan Duncan-Brewster a black woman. Initially, the character set as a white man playing a leading ecologist in Arrakis and also an independent power broker was changed due to the lack of female characters in this story.
Paul Atreides played by Timothee Chalamet is mentored by two warriors called Duncan Idaho and Gurney Halleck, played by Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin respectively. Dave Bautista plays an enforcer Glossu Rabba who also happens to be a sinister Harkonnen and Charlotte Rampling plays the key role of Bene Gasserit’s reverend mother. Javier Bardem leads a tribe known as Stilgar with Zendaya co-starring as a mystery woman named Chani, who haunts Paul in his dreams.
Villeneuve says the sheer volume of Dune is what makes it so difficult for people to adapt and adds to it by saying “It’s a book that tackles politics, religion, ecology, spirituality – and with a lot of characters”. He then goes to say that this movie is by far the most difficult thing he has done in his life. Adding to this difficultly is the fact that he has to make the second part of this movie, and we can only hope that this movie will be a treat for us.