Javier Bardem Talks Dune And Why His Role Reminds Him Of One Fan-Favorite LOTR Character

Javier Bardem as Anton in No Country for Old Men
(Image credit: Miramax)

Javier Bardem is just one of the many Hollywood heavyweights that are set to star in Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune. However, the Academy Award-winning actor had a unique connection to the source material that made him especially excited to work on the film - one that reminded him of none other than Aragorn, a fan-favorite character from The Lord of the Rings series. 

In a cover story for Entertainment Weekly, the stars of Dune discussed the casting process and what inspired them to take their respective roles. Javier Bardem, who will play the Fremen leader Stilgar, was actually quite familiar with his character before he was ever tapped to take the role . A huge fan of Frank Herbert’s book, Javier Bardem described his part as a longtime aspiration: 

I met him [Villeneuve] over lunch. He offered me the role and I was blown away by the fact that he was so direct. I read the book many years ago, and funny enough, I felt the same way about Stilgar that I felt when I read Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. It’s that role that you want to play when you are a kid. So when Denis Villeneuve asked me to play that role I was absolutely in shock, knowing that he’s going to do something very unique with it.

Putting aside the frankly iconic mental image of Javier Bardem as Aragorn, it must have been quite exciting for the Spanish actor to be given the opportunity to bring a childhood dream to life - and for an elite director like Denis Villeneuve to offer it up on a silver platter, no less. While The Lord of the Rings and Dune have very little in common on paper, both book series are pillars of their respective genres and have no doubt inspired many children with their heroic characters. Stilgar, like Aragorn, becomes the leader of a rebel group and fights against a malicious force that strives to take over his homeland. Given these similarities, it’s no wonder that Javier Bardem felt a kinship with both men. 

He might not be playing Aragon, but Javier Bardem won’t have any shortage of upcoming projects after the release of Dune. He’s set to portray Ariel’s father King Triton in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid alongside Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy, as well as sitcom legend Desi Arnaz in Being The Ricardos with fellow Oscar winner Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball. 

Dune will arrive in theaters and on the streaming platform HBO Max on October 22, 2021. In addition to Javier Bardem, the cast includes Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Zendaya as Chani, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto, and Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica.  

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.