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Zendaya Says Dune Wasn’t Even Looking At Her When She Convinced Them She Was Right For The Role

Zendaya as Chani in Dune
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

There are a lot of eyes on Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune. The movie adapts one of the most popular science fiction novels ever written, a task that has proved troublesome for even some of the world’s greatest directors. It’s also got an all-star cast, but one member of that cast, Zendaya, says nobody was considering her for the film until she made sure they did. 

Zendaya is becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood thanks to roles in everything from the most recent Spider-Man films to Euphoria, and her upcoming role in Dune as Chani will likely only make her a bigger star. But it seems that Zendaya might not have found herself in that role if the actress didn’t lobby for herself. She tells Vogue that nobody was looking in her direction, so she made sure the powers that be knew she was interested. Zendaya explains...

Before they were even looking at people, I heard about it. And I was like, ‘I really want to get in the room.’ They weren’t looking in my direction. And I was like, ‘Hey, I’m here!’ …. I don’t think [Denis] makes bad movies.

It sounds like one of the big reasons Zendaya wanted to be part of Dune was simply to work with director Denis Villeneuve, as she says he doesn’t make bad movies. A lot of people would certainly agree with her. While not every Denis Villeneuve movie is a box office smash, they tend to be critical darlings and fan-favorites for those that see them.

Zendaya said she just wanted to “get in the room” and it seems that, once she was able to do so, that’s really all it took to secure the role of Chani. Denis Villeneuve tells Vogue that once he met the actress, he knew she was the right one for the part, saying…

I remember meeting Chani for the very first time when Zendaya made me believe that she has been raised on an alien planet, in the deep desert, in the roughest environment.

We’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Zendaya in the lead up to Dune, what’s unclear however, is just how big a role she’ll actually have in the movie. Indications are that her performance may not be that large, and since we know the movie is only covering part of the novel, depending on exactly where it breaks, Zendaya may not actually have much screen time.

However, with the odds of the second Dune movie only getting better the closer we get to the first film, we know Zendaya’s Chani will be key to that movie when it happens. Whatever the plan is for her in movie one, we will finally get a chance to see the epic that is Dune in theaters and on HBO Max (opens in new tab), beginning October 22.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

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