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Dune’s Denis Vilenueve Drops F-Bomb While Revealing The Scene That Sold Him On Timothée Chalamet As Paul Atreides

Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides training in Dune
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Thus far it looks like Dune is everything that Warner Bros. and director Denis Villeneuve were hoping it would be. Both in theaters and on HBO Max it’s been a success, enough so that the almost necessary sequel has officially been given a greetlight. A lot of the credit can go to the phenomenal cast, especially Timothée Chalamet in the lead as Paul Atreides. The director says there was one early scene that showed him he’d cast the right person in that role.

Timothée Chalamet and Denis Villeneuve both sat down to speak with A.V. Club about Dune and in the conversation the director revealed the scene where he became absolutely certain that he made the right decision in casting Paul Atreides. It was an early scene in the movie, which was also filmed early on in production, the Gom Jabbar, where Paul is tested, and Vileneueve says he was literally dancing with joy behind the camera. The director said... 

I will tell you the truth. The thing is, there’s a scene that we shot right at the beginning of the shoot called the Gom Jabbar scene. We go to a strange, unconscious, transformative process and that transformation when we did the scene I saw this transformation into Timothee. And when I saw that power rising into what he brought to the character I saw with my own eyes Paul Atreides becoming something else. When that happened, Timothee didn’t see, but I was dancing behind the camera.

The scene is certainly an important moment in the story. Paul Atreides is forced to endure incredible pain, or die, all as part of a religious test. It’s a key moment in the story as it shows us a great deal about the person Paul is and the world he is part of. For Denis Villeneuve, it was a key moment too, because he realized he hadn’t made a crucial mistake, and he even drops an F-bomb in his excitement. He continues... 

I was like, ‘Oh god, this is so great. He is so powerful. I am so deeply happy. Thank you to the gods of cinema. I didn’t fuck it up!’ I cast the right Paul Atreides.

Casting has to be a complicated thing. You’ll always have multiple actors who certainly have the necessary skills to play the role, but being able to decide who the right performer truly is must be difficult. We’ll always wonder how certain roles might have turned out if they’d been played by others. Maybe they would have been better if somebody else was chosen. Maybe they could have been much worse. It's a question will always ask with alternate casting possibilities come to light. In this case, the director of Dune doesn’t seem to have any doubts..  

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.