When we last reported on the adaptation of DUNE, we learned that director Denis Villeneuve, although he had been courted for JAMES BOND 25, was more interested in adapting Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel. Now it looks like he’s landed Oscar-nominee Timothee Chalamet to play the lead role of young nobleman Paul Atreides. For those unfamiliar with DUNE, here’s Deadline’s brief synopsis:
It is set in the far future involving worlds beyond Earth, ruled over by competing feudal families who control access to a drug called Melange. Known popularly as “spice,” the drug gives its users heightened consciousness and an extended lifespan at the cost of crippling addiction and fatal withdrawal. Spice, use of which makes interstellar travel possible, is found only on the desert planet of Arrakis — aka “Dune” — and as such is the most valuable commodity in the galaxy.
DUNE has had some contentious adaptations, first with David Lynch’s version, which starred Kyle MacLachlan, and then there was Alejandro Jodorowsky’s version of DUNE, which never came to fruition but led to some fascinating ideas that ended up populating other movies.
As for Chalamet, he could easily be back in the Oscar conversation for two years straight with the highly anticipated BEAUTIFUL BOY, which sees him playing a drug addict in conflict with his father, played by Steve Carell. For Chalamet, DUNE represents his first time really taking the lead on a tentpole sci-fi film, and it’s a bold choice to let him carry it. But Chalamet’s star is only rising right now, and it’s a smart move to try and put an ambitious movie like DUNE on his back. It may not end up being for everyone, but as Villeneuve showed with sci-fi like ARRIVAL and BLADE RUNNER 2049, that’s more than okay. Chalamet is one of the best young actors working today, and his take on Atreides will likely be far different than what we saw with MacLachlan.