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Timothy Chalamet has already made quite the splash in the film world with the likes of Call Me by Your Name, Lady Bird and Little Women (to name just a few), but Dune marks his first time leading a blockbuster sci-fi movie. Based off the same-named book by Frank Herbert and directed by Denis Villeneuve, Dune is an ambitious project that saw the cast and crew filming in several different countries, including the United Arab Emirates, which Chalamet found to be a particularly exhausting shoot.
Here’s what the actor had to say about his time working on Dune in the remote regions outside of Abu Dhabi:
I remember going out of my room at 2 a.m., and it being probably 100 degrees. The shooting temperature was sometimes 120 degrees. They put a cap on it out there, if it gets too hot. I forget what the exact number is, but you can’t keep working. In a really grounded way, it was helpful to be in the stillsuits and to be at that level of exhaustion.
The deserts surrounding Abu Dhabi served as the stand-in for Dune’s eponymous location, i.e. the planet Arrakis, the location of the coveted substance known as spice and the gigantic sandworms, and where Timothee Chalamet’s character, Paul Atreides, finds himself for much of the original novel. As Chalamet laid out to Vanity Fair, temperatures ran so hot even in the early mornings that eventually there came a point where work simply had to be paused.
Ultimately though, Timothy Chalamet found that being this uncomfortable was helpful to his performance, as it’s not like navigating Arrakis is an easy feat for Paul Atreides in Dune. Still, it’s not like Chalamet and many of his co-stars spent all their time in this boiling environment, as the production also captured footage in Hungary and Norway. Principal photography kicked off in May 2019 and wrapped up the following July.
Unlike David Lynch’s Dune from 1984, Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation is not cramming all of Frank Herbert’s original story. Instead, this winter’s Dune will chronicle the first half, and while a sequel encompassing the second half hasn’t gotten the official green light just yet, Dune 2 is being written by Jon Spaihts, who co-wrote the first movie and was originally serving as showrunner on the HBO Max series Dune: The Sisterhood.
Along with Timothee Chalamet, Dune’s ensemble cast includes Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem and Charlotte Rampling. Along with Denis Villeneuve directing and co-writing, the behind-the-scenes talent includes Greig Fraser as cinematographer, Joe Walker as editor and Hans Zimmer handling the movie’s score.