Denis Villenueve’s Dune Will Be ‘Nightmarish’ And ‘Shocking’, According To Oscar Isaac

1984 Dune movie
(Image credit: (Universal))

In about a week, Oscar Isaac will be part of the end of one of the longest running sci-fi film sagas. The nine-episode Skywalker Saga will close out with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which will finally see his fighter pilot character Poe amongst a trio of Resistance heroes. Luckily, the actor has pivoted to another science fiction movie project that has a lot of potential. He’ll star as Duke Leto Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune.

As the Blade Runner 2049 director previously described, his Dune is kind of like “Star Wars for adults.” Now, Oscar Isaac is providing a bit of intriguing descriptors about the book adaptation. In his words:

It’s just a wholly, wholly different thing. I couldn’t imagine anyone more suited for the tone of the original Frank Herbert novels than Denis. There are some things that are — for lack of a better word — nightmarish about what you see… There’s just this kind of brutalist element to it. It’s shocking. It’s scary. It’s very visceral.

Well, this is exciting! Dune sounds incredible. The classic novel from 1965 didn’t play it safe and Denis Villeneuve certainly won’t with his upcoming sci-fi movie. Per Oscar Isaac’s words to Entertainment Weekly, the tone of Dune sounds like it will challenge its audience through horror elements and gripping content. In a Hollywood landscape often ridden with remakes (Dune counting as one), that's refreshing to hear!

Stellan Skarsgård, who will play the film’s villain Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, previously said Dune won’t feel like a studio movie. Even if half of Hollywood has been cast in the movie? Dune stars Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atriedes and Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, the son and wife to Oscar Isaac’s character, respectively. Zendaya, Dave Bautista, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, David Dastmalchian, Charlotte Rampling and Javier Bardem are also in the film.

Oscar Isaac continued to talk more about Dune with the following words:

And I know that definitely between Denis and myself and Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson as the family unit, we really searched for the emotion of it. I’m beyond myself with excitement. I think it’s good to feel cool, unique, and special.

Oscar Isaac's character of Duke Leto Atreides is a well-regarded and respected leader of the planet of Arrakis in the books, but because this world is the source for the most valuable substance in the universe, “The Spice”, the Atreides family becomes threatened. Chalamet’s Paul must find shelter with a desert tribe and ends up leading an uprising against the rival house Harkonnen.

Denis Villeneuve is already working on a second Dune movie, since he plans to adapt the novel over a pair of films. A television show based in the world called Dune: The Sisterhood is also in the works over at HBO Max. Considering Dune continues over six books, the upcoming movie could be the beginning of a new sci-fi franchise.

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is set to be released on December 18, 2020 – about a year after the coming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Learn more about Dune with our guide to what we know so far!

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.