Denis Villeneuve is spearheading one of the most anticipated and star-struck movies of the year: an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic Dune. The acclaimed filmmaker recently teased a few images showing his protagonist, played by Timothée Chalamet, to reporters at Empire, and the consensus seems to be that they look pretty good.
Dune, a book which is to literature is what George Lucas’ Star Wars is to cinema, tells the story of Paul Atreides, a young man of royalty on a quest to avenge his father after a rival family ended their rule over the desert planet Arrakis.
“It’s Paul’s first contact with the deep desert, where he’s mesmerized by it,” Villeneuve told Empire regarding the photo. “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.”
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In another interview, Chalamet elaborated on his character as well:
“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 Vanity Fair. “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.”
Despite being a sprawling space opera jam packed with political intrigue reminiscent of Game of Thrones and monsters the size of skyscrapers, Dune has yet to be adapted into a successful blockbuster. Several filmmakers, including ones as talented as David Lynch, have taken Herbert’s work to screens small and large, but with little success. With such high concept titles as Arrival and the Blade Runner reboot under his belt, however, Villeneuve seems to have a better shot at doing to the saga justice than pretty much any other director in the world.
Some critics have expressed worry this eye-catching production might suffer from John Carter syndrome. Named after Dinsey’s 2012 film of the same name, which became one of the biggest box office flops in the history of cinema, the concept plagues the minds of executives each time they make the bold decision to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into an intellectual property that, as of yet, only a small amount of people are familiar with.
Dune, which is set to premier in December if unaffected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, will star Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Jason Momoa in alongside Chalamet.