In ‘Dune 2,’ Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya and the cast rise to the challenge

Feb14,2024


Timothée Chalamet and Austin Butler were really looking forward to their fight.

The actor was training separately with a black trainer in Los Angeles in preparation for the climactic showdown between Paul Atreides and Fayed Routha in Denis Villeneuve's “Dune: Part Two.” ” When they finally met in Budapest, technically they weren't even supposed to run away. But he could not hide his excitement.

“We got after it right away,” Chalamet said.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Timothée Chalamet, foreground left, and Austin Butler in a scene from 'Dune: Part Two'.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Timothée Chalamet, foreground left, and Austin Butler in a scene from 'Dune: Part Two'. Photo Credit: Nico Tavernis

Everyone in the group gets teary-eyed while talking about that fight. It was an amazing sight to see Butler and Chalamet do it all, some for wide shots in a row.

“It felt like you were standing up before going on stage or something, that incredible intensity you feel. And then 'Action!' It is said. And we still have work to do,” Butler said. “That's the moment of truth where you want to leave everything on the field.”

But it was also the rare occasion when most of the cast, including Zendaya, Florence Pugh, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Christopher Walken, Charlotte Rampling, Rebecca Ferguson and Javier Bardem, were together in the same room.

Pugh, a newcomer to the world of “Dune” as Princess Irulan, the emperor's daughter, described the atmosphere of the room as “a fiery energy that only at that point, you hope, can create greatness. Is.”

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Florence Pugh in a scene from 'Dune: Part Two'.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Florence Pugh in a scene from 'Dune: Part Two'. Photo Credit: Nico Tavernis

Leaving it on the field in the fight wasn't just Butler's goal. That seems to be the guiding principle for anyone who gets the chance to return to Arrakis for “Part Two,” which opens on March 1. A sequel was not given and was dependent on the success of “Part One”, which resulted in On Handicap being released simultaneously on Max (formerly HBOMax) and in theaters.

Chalamet was worried that they would end on an incomplete arc. Other actors, like Zendaya as Fremen fighter (and object of Paul's affection) Chaney and Bautista as Harkonnen thug Beast Rabban, barely even scratched the surface of their characters in “Part One.”

“That uncertainty was uncomfortable,” Bautista said. “My payoff for the character was in another film.”

The time in between gave Zendaya and Chalamet a chance to breathe to establish a real friendship with each other, before their characters fell in love in “Part Two” — all amid the high stakes.

Zendaya said, “What I appreciate about a love story is that it's earned.” “Gotta break down a real wall.”

Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet

Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet | Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain

But it was a relief to get it officially approved, even though they knew it would take a lot of sweat and trouble to bring this ambitious and visionary science fiction world to life, by increasing the action threefold.

Brolin, returning as Gurney Halleck, said, “It's tough, but I love it personally.” “I like to challenge my idea of ​​comfort often.”

Some were more intimidated by the return, like Skarsgård, knowing that to become Baron Harkonnen he would once again have to sit completely still for eight hours. The look would include a cooling vest and more than 80 pounds (36 kg) of rubber suit, making it difficult to move and making a bathroom break impossible.

“I wasn't that thrilled with it because I thought about all those hours of makeup,” Skarsgård said. “But on the other hand, I really like this character very much, not because she is portrayed so beautifully psychologically, but because we managed to create her presence… She is used in very few scenes , but he still looms as a dangerous figure throughout the film. , Dangerous thing.”

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Stellan Skarsgård in a scene from 'Dune: Part Two'.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Stellan Skarsgård in a scene from 'Dune: Part Two'. Photo Credit: Nico Tavernis

One thing he was not prepared for was playing the butler to his character's “psychopathic” nephew Fayed Routha. Butler came up with the idea of ​​modeling his voice like Skarsgård.

“It's a strange description,” Skarsgård said. “But then, God, he was so fast. It's like a snake. It was wonderful to see.”

Butler also transitioned to playing a character that Villeneuve described as “a mix between the Sword Master and Mick Jagger”. Hair and makeup took about three hours and it took an hour to get her out of the hat at the end of the day.

Butler said, “It's a real gift as an actor when you look in the mirror and don't see yourself.” “I knew I had a lot of opportunities to play.”

Director Denis Villeneuve, Stellan Skarsgård, Souhila Yacoub, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler and Léa Seydoux

Director Denis Villeneuve, Stellan Skarsgård, Souhila Yacoub, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler and Léa Seydoux | Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain

For Pugh, seeing the scale of the set and being part of not only a transformative experience but “being around such dedication and such love and passion and such talent” was a “dream”.

Like most of her teammates, she said that the fight in that room during the week was the highlight of her career.

“It was impressive,” Brolin said. “(These were guys who) were actually practicing, who were actually doing it, who were hurting themselves, who were falling… You're like, 'Yeah, this is old school. '”

Brolin was particularly impressed by the younger cast, none of whom depended on their celebrity, he said.

josh brolin

Josh Brolin | Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain

Of course, at the center of “Dune” is Chalamet, an actor who was only 23 when he made the first film. He was nominated for an Oscar and was rapidly establishing himself as the next capital M movie star. But this was the first time he had led a production on such a large scale.

By the time he returned a few years later to begin production on “Dune: Part Two,” the difference was obvious: Like his character Paul Atreides, he had grown up.

“He was like a little kid and he didn't hide it. He's like, 'What is this?' What we do? Oh my god. huge. So many cameras,” Brolin laughed. “And right now he's exactly where he needs to be.”

Chalamet is self-deprecating about this, laughing that he was “but a boy” before and in the meantime he's got some furniture. But everyone around him noticed the change.

timothy chalamet

Timothée Chalamet Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain

Bautista was particularly impressed by his dedication to the training and eating program to transform himself into a reliably powerful fighter (and sandworm rider).

Bautista said, “I know he trained his butt off because he wanted to see this role.” “He literally goes from a boy to a man, like he's giving orders in the second movie.”

Villeneuve was sure he would get there too, but still felt a little relieved that everything worked out as he had planned.

Villeneuve said, “Timothy had learned a lot about filmmaking between the two films.” “In 'Part One' it was the first time he was in a film of that scale, surrounded by so many films. But he was the lead in 'Part Two'. And he did a tremendous job of bringing Paul's tragedy to life.”

Director Denis Villeneuve and producer Tanya Lapointe attend the premiere of 'Dune 2' at Le Grand Rex on February 12, 2024 in Paris, France.

Director Denis Villeneuve and producer Tanya Lapointe attend the 'Dune 2' premiere at Le Grand Rex on February 12, 2024 in Paris, France | Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain

“Dune: Part Two” is the kind of “event cinema” that the cast seems genuinely (and not just contractually) excited to be a part of and see on the big screen – an inspiring and action-packed spectacle that will definitely will satisfy anyone who first complained he was too distracted.

“It's like storytelling. this is heart. It is amazing to see. The soundtrack is incredible, Bautista said. “It's a special movie and they don't come along very often.”

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