Zendaya “will be much more visible” in the second part of “Dune”


Director Denis Villeneuve first discovered the classic science fiction novel “Dune” when he was 13 years old. While most of his peers were playing hockey, he and his best friend Nicolas Kadima were at home with notepads and pencils to draw pictures from the book.

“We were like two nerds at the end of a dark hallway, drawing storyboards for a movie that would never exist,” he told The Envelope. Except that it exists. “Dune” is the dream project of the French-Canadian director, who has made science fiction a specialty with his last three releases – “Arrival”, “Blade Runner 2049” and now “Dune”.

Based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel, the film features a star-studded cast led by Timothée Chalamet as the young supernatural nobleman Paul Atreides maturing on the hostile desert planet of Arrakis. Arid to the naked eye, the desert is rich in resources guarded by monstrous sand worms large enough to devour a small village all at once. The film also stars Rebecca Ferguson as Paul’s witch mother, Lady Jessica Atreides, and Oscar Isaac as her father, Duke Leto Atreides. The cast is completed by Stellan Skarsgard, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista and Charlotte Rampling.

It’s no surprise that the A-list talent wants to work with Villeneuve, though he credits his enviable cast to the book’s broad appeal. Even the sandstorms could not dampen the atmosphere there in Wadi Rum in Jordan and the Rub ‘al Khali in Abu Dhabi. “I worked with all the big movie stars, and they all came on set like actors, with no egos,” he recalls. “Frankly, we were all like, ‘One of them will be an a—.’ Anybody. They were all inspiring.

We only see a glimpse of Chalamet’s principal lady, Zendaya, a desert dweller who has perfected survival skills in the wild. For Chalamet, who was in his twenties during production, someone his age was a welcome addition to the cast.

“I saw the smile he had on his face when Zendaya walked in, because he could finally share the experience with someone of his generation. They became friends spontaneously. It was wonderful to see this happen on the set, ”said Villeneuve. “In this first film, we see his character. It will be much more important in the second.

That’s right, two films. But rather than filming both simultaneously, Warner Bros. chose to wait before giving the green light to the second part. But with a worldwide box office hitting nearly $ 400 million, giving the green light for the second half of the story was an easy call.

A book that puts worldbuilding and theme ahead of plot may not seem like a comfortable choice for conventional Hollywood storytelling. This could be why David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation stumbled so infamously.

Assuming he didn’t want to talk about a movie he publicly disowned upon release, Villeneuve didn’t reach out to Lynch. “I could meet David for lunch, but we’ll talk about yoga or meditation, parenting, anything but ‘Dune’.”

Villeneuve expresses a great reverence for Lynch as well as for eccentric filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose proposed 12-hour adaptation of the book starring Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali and Orson Welles never saw the light of day in the 1970s.

A fan of movies on the big screen, Villeneuve had planned for his two-part “Dune” to hit theaters in October 2020 before finally landing on HBO Max. But the release has been postponed for a year with the COVID-19 pandemic, with Warner Bros. ‘ announces that the entire 2021 list will be released day and date in theaters and on the platform.

“I think it was a bad decision,” said the director, adding that his relationship with the studio was on a great footing. “I designed the film to be seen in theaters, not on television. If people are in a safe environment, it has to be seen on the big screen. “

Coming from a middle-class family of six in Gentilly, in the Canadian province of Quebec, Villeneuve and his younger brother Martin both grew up to be filmmakers. Denis had moved away from the cinema after having enjoyed some success in the 1990s with his first director, “August 32 on Earth”, presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, and its follow-up, “Maelström” , winner of Best Canadian Film at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival.

In 2010, he made a strong comeback by directing “Incendies, which won an Oscar nomination for a foreign language film.” In 2017, he was nominated for his work on “Arrival,” which received eight nominations in total, including one victory for sound editing.

And he’s way ahead of him. Its roster includes “Dune: The Sisterhood,” a prequel series to HBO Max and, for the same platform, “The Son,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal. After the second film “Dune”, he will return to the desert for “Cleopatra”.

When he first met Hans Zimmer, Villeneuve and the composer spoke of the dangers of chasing childhood dreams. “There is something ultimate about this idea. Is it a good idea to try to achieve this dream? Are we doomed to failure? he asks, thinking back to his 13-year-old self-drawing storyboards. “It was a big challenge to please the teenager I was then.”


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