Yesterday, Vanity Fair gifted us with our first look at Timothée Chalamet in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. The single image—of Chalamet as Paul Atreides on his home planet of Caladan—caused quite a stir online, and sent our imaginations into gear. Little did we know what the next day would bring.
Today, the magazine gave us even more to chew on. Way more! Let’s go through all of the new images and information from today’s Dune cover story in Vanity Fair, starting with this image of Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson as Paul Atreides and his mother, Lady Jessica. The two are shown on the planet Arrakis, where House Atreides moves to mine a spice vital for their universe. As we can see, the they are wearing breathing devices.
The scene was filmed in Jordan, which, if you recall, is also where a large chunk of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was shot. Dune and Star Wars already share a lot of DNA, and it looks like they will cinematically as well. (Dune also filmed near Abu Dhabi, another Star Wars sequel location.) Chalamet told Vanity Fair of filming in Jordan: “It was really surreal. There are these Goliath landscapes, which you may imagine existing on planets in our universe, but not on Earth.”
Next up, we have our first look at two more female characters from Dune. First is Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Dr. Liet Kynes, a role that’s gender-swapped from the books. And then there’s Zendaya as Chani, “a mystery woman with glowing blue eyes, who appears as a vision in Paul’s dreams,” as Vanity Fair writer Anthony Breznican puts it. The article also mentions that Chani has glowing blue eyes.
Finally, @Zendaya as Chani — a mystery woman with glowing blue eyes, who appears as a vision in Paul's dreams.— Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) April 14, 2020
"It’s a book that tackles politics, religion, ecology, spirituality—and with a lot of characters,” Villeneuve told @VanityFair.
More on #Dune: https://t.co/hZKxoXTm0v pic.twitter.com/gOmXlNAQuy
One of the most exciting images to come out of this batch is our first look at Oscar Isaac as Paul’s father, Duke Leto Atreides. Here’s a little more context about the film’s driving plot and the Atreides’ role in it from the magazine:
[Paul’s] father and mother, Duke Leto (played by Oscar Isaac) and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), take their son from their lush, Scandinavian-like home world [Caladan] to preside over spice extraction on Arrakis. What follows is a clash with the criminal, politically connected House Harkonnen, led by the monstrous Baron Vladimir (Stellan Skarsgård), a mammoth with merciless appetites.
Like everyone else in these images, Isaac looks both weathered and incredibly hot. And we love his armor. Also, behind him is Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, who we get a closer look at in his own individual image. He’s sporting the same armor as Duke Leto. Halleck is one of two warriors on Arrakis who mentors Paul.
The other warrior is Duncan Idaho, played by Jason Momoa. Idaho is a swordmaster in service of House Atreides, and is a fan-favorite character in the book series. (And the only character to appear in all six novels in the series.)
Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho in DUNE! pic.twitter.com/FS01dOjpbA— Secrets of Dune | Ralí (@SecretsOfDune) April 14, 2020
We got another close-up image of Lady Jessica, this time in her trademark black robes. Lady Jessica is a member of the Bene Gesserit, a sect of women who are pretty much witches: they can read minds, control others, and “manipulate the balance of power in the universe.” According to the Vanity Fair article, her role is much expanded in this version, and she has a great role in training her son.
“She’s a mother, she’s a concubine, she’s a soldier,” Ferguson told the magazine. “Denis was very respectful of Frank’s work in the book, [but] the quality of the arcs for much of the women have been brought up to a new level. There were some shifts he did, and they are beautifully portrayed now.”
Here’s a closer look at House Atreides in all of their badass, all-black goth glory.
The magazine also treated us to a behind-the-scenes look at Villeneuve directing Javier Bardem, who plays Fremen leader Stiglar in the film, a character Paul encounters in the deserts of Arrakis.
The article is loaded with some fascinating insights from Villeneuve. “It’s a book that tackles politics, religion, ecology, spirituality—and with a lot of characters,” he said of Dune. “I think that’s why it’s so difficult. Honestly, it’s by far the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life.”
From the man who gave us Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival, that’s saying a lot—and has us utterly beside ourselves for his take on Dune, which opens in theaters this December 18.
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