Dune Director Denis Villeneuve Gushes Over Casting Timothée Chalamet

Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune.

Dune director Denis Villeneuve has nothing but high praise for his star Timothée Chalamet. Villeneuve is the latest director to try his hand at adapting Frank Herbert's iconic 1965 sci-fi novel, and anticipation is high. Previous attempts to bring the novel to life fell short at capturing the depth of Dune's world, so Villeneuve has a new approach: Splitting the film into two parts. The first is set to arrive later this year, while the second has yet to be officially ordered. Dune tells the story of the Atreides family, the leaders of the desert planet Arrakis who have pledged themselves to protecting its highly valuable resources.

Chalamet leads the cast as son Paul Atreides, with his parents being played by Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson. While Dune features plenty of acting heavyweights such as Josh Brolin and Zendaya, it's Chalamet who promises to have quite the arc. Villeneuve previously compared Paul's story to that of Michael Corleone from The Godfather, indicating he'll evolve in interesting ways. Chalamet certainly seems up to the task, having proving his acting chops with projects like Call Me by Your Name and Little Women.

Villeneuve, for his part, spoke very highly of Chalamet when being interviewed for the Shanghai International Film Festival (via Secrets of Dune). First, he said he knew Chalamet was the one to cast as Paul for "several reasons," before elaborating with this:

He is a phenomenal actor. He is someone that has a lot of depth, someone that is very mature for his age because Paul Atreides is an old soul in a young body, and Timothée has that… Also, he has features that remind me of old school Hollywood stars. He’s a real movie star. He has that insane charisma. Insane charisma. You put Timothée in front of a camera and it’s an explosion.

Dune Movie - Actor Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides.

Dune is Chalamet's first big foray into the sci-fi genre (if one doesn't count his small role in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar), and this time he'll also be a franchise star. Dune fans have so far responded positively to Chalamet's casting, and Villeneuve's positive words will no doubt help ease any concerns they have. Dune needs to get a lot of things right in order to be a success in fans' eyes, and nailing Paul's casting is one of them. Luckily, though, it sounds like Villeneuve has done well with that.

Right now, the biggest challenge facing Dune seems to be getting to its December release date on time. Reshoots are set to begin this month, and Villeneuve has been working on editing remotely. However, he recently admitted Dune's post-production work is proving to be rather difficult, leading to some concern it won't be completed in time. Additionally, the coronavirus pandemic has delayed countless films this year, and should the situation not improve soon, Dune could end up affected. For now, however, it remains planted at the end of the year, and fans are likely hoping it stays that way.

Source: Secrets of Dune

Key Release Dates

  • Dune (2020)Release Date: Dec 18, 2020