The Hardest Thing About Playing Dune's Piter De Vries, According To The Actor

David Dastmalchian as Kurt in Ant-Man 2015
(Image credit: (Marvel))

After Denis Villeneuve delivered a critically-acclaimed sequel to Blade Runner 35 years after the Harrison Ford-led classic, he moved to another adaptation based on cutting-edge science fiction literature: Dune. The filmmaker has assembled what seems like half of Hollywood to portray the novel’s complex characters, including Ant-Man’s David Dastmalchian, who will play a dark and twisted human computer named Piter De Vries.

David Dastmalchian has admitted to Comic Book Resources that his character in Dune has been a tough undertaking. Here’s why in his words:

I've always worked for and with collaborators who have created characters -- that the motivations behind them are, you know, emotional, whereas Piter is like the computer version of sociopathy. I mean, his curiosity and his ability to harm someone or hurt someone to achieve a goal is as much out of a kind of sick curiosity as it is to achieving the goal that needs to be reached, and that was hard for me.

Getting inside the head of the computer version of a sociopath sounds intense! (Unless you’re a sociopath that is.) While David Dastmalchian is seasoned in playing villainous characters in comic book adaptations, such as Abra Kadabra in CW’s The Flash and Dwight Pollard in FOX’s Gotham, there’s an edge of fun to those roles. That said, Dune isn’t like his past “evil” characters. David Dastmalchian continued with:

You could just twist your mustache and be a bad guy and just want to hurt people. You could do that. But that's not the movie Denis [Villeneuve] is making, and that's not the book that Frank Herbert wrote.

Dune follows a young man named Paul Atreides (Timotheé Chalamet) who is left to die by the planet Arrakis rival house Harkonnen. Piter De Vries aids the villainous house’s efforts to take rule of the planet as Paul bands with a desert tribe and leads an uprising against those who've wronged him and his family.

The story was previously adapted by David Lynch in a 1984 film starring Kyle MacLachlan as Paul and Brad Dourif as Piter De Vries. The first Dune was a critical and commercial failure, but it would go on to build a cult following.

The 2020 release will feature the talents of Rebecca Ferguson and Oscar Isaac as Paul’s parents, Zendaya as his love interest Chani, as well as Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin as Duncan Idaho, Stilgar and Gurney Halleck, friends to the Atreides’ cause, respectively. On the Harkonnen side, we have Stellan Skarsgård’s Baron and Dave Bautista’s Glossu 'Beast' Rabban.

David Dastmalchian is most recognized from The Dark Knight and the Ant-Man movies, but he also recently wrote and starred in his own film, All Creatures Here Below, with Karen Gillan, and has been cast James Gunn’s take on The Suicide Squad as Polka-Dot Man.

Dune already wrapped filming over the summer, and the film has a release date of December 18, 2020

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.