Denis Villenueve Reveals His Favorite Scene From Dune: Part One

dune

As a lifelong fan of the source material, who even described his love of Star Wars as his gateway into the Frank Herbert novel, Denis Villenueve has wanted to bring Dune to life as a big screen epic for as long as he’s been a filmmaker.

Not only did he get his wish, with the recent sci-fi blockbuster performing well at the box office both home and abroad, but just days after Dune scored Warner Bros.’ largest domestic opening weekend in two years, it was confirmed that Part Two is coming to theaters in October 2023.

There was a lot of chatter and even a little concern that the sequel would never happen had Dune flopped, but luckily that’s a conversation we can consign to the history books. In a new profile by The Hollywood Reporter, Villenueve was asked to pick his favorite scene from the opening chapter, and he ultimately plumped for the intense character-driven exchange between Timothee Chalamet’s Paul Atreides and his mother Lady Jessica.

“Frank Herbert wrote Dune as a warning towards those messianic figures, those chosen ones, those savior figures. It’s about how dangerous those kinds of figures can be. It’s a criticism of the messianic figure. That’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie, and it solely relies on Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson’s shoulders and their talent. These two actors were trapped in that very tiny space with an implosion and then an explosion.

So a lot of things are happening in that scene. The main character is becoming more and more obsessed and haunted by those visions, and then he finally confronts his mother. But at the same time, he’s also grieving his father. So a lot of things are happening. It’s a kind of cinematic rebirth for the character, and Timothée gave a performance there that still moves me every time I watch the movie.”

Dune may be a $165 million movie backed by a major studio, but it’s the smaller moments that further the narrative and deepen our connections with the figures in the story, although the big budget spectacle is undeniably stunning to see unfold. Villenueve teased more action in Part Two, but if he gets asked again two years from now what his favorite moment from the back half is, chances are high he’d go for character over pyrotechnics any day of the week.