We’re getting new insights about the vibe on the set of Dune with the revelation that one of its stars, David Dastmalchian, was reportedly terrified during his first scene with Stellan Skarsgård’s Baron Harkonnen.
The epic film based on the 1965 sci-fi novel of the same name by Frank Herbert was just released to theaters and HBO Max this past weekend, earning critical praise and commercially speaking, it is Warner Bros. best box office opening performance since the inception of the studio’s 2021 dual release model, according to ScreenRant.
Taking on a sinister interpretation of the story’s villain involved director Denis Villeneuve and actor Skarsgård collaborating to bring the right tone of the character to screen, involving both heavy and grotesque makeup and the actor’s understated performance.
Dastmalchian, who plays the Baron’s advisor Piter de Vries, said in a recent interview that Skarsgård was in full-blown makeup the first time he met the actor, which he described as a thrilling experience. The actor explained that the first time the two met was during the steam room, which included other background actors playing the Baron’s slaves.
“It’s horrifying. It’s so overwhelmingly intimidating and yet through all of that incredible prosthetic and design, his eyes and his voice are the most powerful part of his performance. He just scared the crap of me. It was awesome. The first time we really interacted, I can just hear his voice, because he’s so enveloped in the steam of the scene, and he couldn’t just go hang out in a cast chair. It wasn’t like we were just sitting their chit-chatting. All of a sudden he’s rising out of this steam and I get my first look at him and it was terrifying,” Dastmalchian told The Hollywood Reporter.
It’s likely Skarsgård’s formidable performance contributed to Dune: Part 2 being officially greenlit as the film that is currently in theaters is only the first part of a planned duology containing the story of the first book.
Dune co-stars Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Mamoa, and Josh Brolin among many others. Catch it in theaters and HBO Max now.