It seems Timothée Chalamet has a penchant for bringing literary characters to life on the big screen. After portraying Laurie from Little Women, Elio from Call Me by Your Name, and Henry V from Shakespeare's Henriad, the 24-year-old actor is now turning his attention to the young antihero of a sci-fi classic: Paul Atreides of Frank Herbert's 1965 epic, Dune.
Here's what you need to know about the upcoming film.
It arrives December 18.
Unlike other blockbuster films of 2020, Dune's release date has not changed. The movie will arrive in time for the holidays, and director Denis Villeneuve is anticipating that audiences will enjoy the release together. "I look forward to a time when we can all get together again as Dune was made to be seen on the big screen," he told Vanity Fair.
Chalamet stars as an unlikely hero.
In this intergalactic, future-set saga, Chalamet's Paul hails from an aristocratic family on the planet of Caladan who decide to take over the desert world of Arrakis, which is rich in an essential spice called melange.
"The immediately appealing thing about Paul was the fact that in a story of such detail and scale and world-building, the protagonist is on an anti-hero's-journey of sorts," Chalamet told VF of his character.
"He thinks he's going to be sort of a young general studying his father and his leadership of a fighting force before he comes of age, hopefully a decade later, or something like that," he added.
In our first look of the film, Chalamet appears as Paul, dressed in a black overcoat and leather gloves while ships arrive in the distance to take him and his family to their new planet.
The cast is star-studded.
Chalamet is just one of many big names attached to the project. Oscar Isaac plays Paul's father, Duke Leto Atreides, while Rebecca Ferguson plays his mother, Lady Jessica. Josh Brolin portrays Gurney Halleck and Jason Momoa is Duncan Idaho, two warriors training Paul in combat. Javier Bardem is Stilgar, the leader of a group of indigenous people called Fremen. Zendaya will star as Paul's love interest, Chani, a mysterious woman with shining blue eyes.
First look at Zendaya as Chani in Denis Villeneuve’s DUNE. pic.twitter.com/DEegR4YMRJ— ⊃∪∩⪽ (@DuneNews) April 14, 2020
Stellan Skarsgård is Baron Vladimir, a rhino-like creature and leader of House Harkonnen, a great house on Arrakis that feuds with the Atreides family. French cinematic icon Charlotte Rampling is the reverend mother of the Bene Gesserit, an order of women who can read or control minds. (Paul's mother Jessica is part of this group.) And Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Rogue One) is Dr. Liet Kynes, an ecologist who tries to keep peace between the clashing houses. This character has always been portrayed as a white man, but Villeneuve changed the portrayal for his rendition.
This director has a knack for thrillers, and dramas with space and futuristic themes.
Villeneuve helmed the Oscar-nominated Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. He was also behind the lens for 2015's Sicario and 2013's Prisoners. In addition to directing, he also co-wrote the Dune script with Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, A Star Is Born) and Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange).
It was filmed in Jordan's Wadi Rum desert.
Chalamet and Brolin both shared videos from the famous sandy setting in April 2019. The desert is a famous shooting location and has also been home to films including The Martian, Lawrence of Arabia, The Rise of Skywalker, and Rogue One. Chalamet recalled to VF that sometimes temperatures would reach 120 degrees.
We have our first look at one of Chalamet's action scenes.
The image, shared by Empire Magazine, teases a moment when Chalamet's Paul during his first encounter with the deserts of the planet Arakis. Riding uneasily on an airborne ornithopter, Paul catches his balance while his weapons teacher Gurney Halleck (Brolin) steadies him.
It’s Paul’s first contact with the deep desert, where he’s mesmerised by it,” director Villeneuve told Empire. “He has a strange feeling of being home. There’s a lot of action at this specific moment, and [it’s] one of the scenes in the movie that I’m starting to get pretty proud of.”
New exclusive picture from Dune, featured in the latest issue of Empire Magazine, showing Paul (Timothée) with Gurney (Josh Brolin) in action. pic.twitter.com/1DvGikuuLo— Chasing Chalamet (@chasingchalamet) May 11, 2020
This isn't the first adaptation of Dune.
In 1984, a Dune film arrived from director David Lynch with Twin Peaks' Kyle MacLachlan as the star. In 2000, a miniseries adaptation debuted on the Syfy channel with Alec Newman as Paul. A Children of Dune series starring James McAvoy followed in 2003 on the same network.
In addition to Villeneuve's film rendition this year, there's also an offshoot series coming to HBO Max called Dune: The Sisterhood, a female-centric take on Herbert's novel. Villeneuve is also set to direct the pilot episode.
There will be another Dune movie.
Villeneuve decided to split his adaptation into two parts because the world in Herbert's novel is far to expansive to be squeezed into one film. “I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie,” he told VF. “The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details.”
Watch this space for updates.
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