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 released a few images from the pic for us to feast on and the latest one features his protagonist, played by Timothée Chalamet (seen below).
Dune, a book which is to literature 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, saying:
“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 Blade Runner 2049 under his belt, however, Villeneuve seems to have a better shot at doing justice to the saga than pretty much any other director in the world.
That being said, some critics have expressed worry that this eye-catching production might suffer from John Carter Syndrome. Named after Disney’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. With any luck, though, this effort will fare much better than Disney’s aforementioned box office bomb.
Dune, which is set to premiere in December if unaffected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, will star Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Jason Momoa alongside Chalamet. And frankly, we can’t wait for it.