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With today’s moviemaking technology, assuming you have a big enough budget, it’s easy enough to create so much spectacle and effects that can be created purely through digital means. However, there’s still nothing quite like what practical filmmaking can deliver, so rather than primarily rely on shooting in front of green screens, the cast and crew of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, including Timothee Chalamet, who plays lead protagonist Paul Atreides, traveled to numerous locations around the world to capture footage.
Timothee Chalamet was especially impressed by his time filming in the Wadi Rum desert located in southern Jordan, and recently noted how that during that portion of the Dune shoot, he learned a lesson that hadn’t presented itself during his past movies. Chalamet explained:
That part of the Wadi Rum is so awe-inspiring, you might as well be getting chased by that cliff in the background. It wasn’t a green-screen or anything. That’s one of the most thrilling parts of the book and the movie. We had the sketches. That was a lesson for me. On a Call Me By Your Name or Beautiful Boy it can be counterintuitive to see the storyboards because then maybe you limit yourself based on a camera angle or whatever. It’s the opposite [here] because, for a sequence with the sandworm chasing you, I could never imagine that.
Although Timothee Chalamet briefly appeared in Christopher Nolan’s 2014 movie Interstellar, Dune marks his first time leading a blockbuster production. So the experience of shooting such a massive movie in countries like Jordan, Hungary and Norway was a big enough deal on its own, but as the actor informed Empire, he also walked away from Dune realizing that seeing storyboards ahead of time doesn’t have to be an issue. When it comes to fantastical tales like Dune, even if you know ahead of time how a scene is plotted, there’s still flexibility with how said scene is eventually shot, particularly if it involves a digital effect that’ll be added later.
Sandworms certainly qualify in that regard, as these gigantic beasts live on the planet Arrakis, which is one of Dune’s key locations. As Timothee Chalamet indicated, it sounds like filming the Arrakis scenes in the Wadi Rum rather than solely within a studio helped him and his costars make things feel more real. We recently got our first look at the sandworms in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, but even if Chalamet and the others had seen concept artwork of these monsters ahead of time, there’s still only so much the actor can imagine in their minds as the scenes are being filmed.
With a few exceptions, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune looks to be faithfully adapting Frank Herbert’s classic novel, only rather than pack the entire story into one movie like David Lynch did in the ‘80s, it’ll be spread across two movies. Just like in the original tale, the Dune movie sees Paul Atreides and his mother, Rebecca Ferguson’s Lady Jessica, being forced to flee to the surface of Arrakis to seek the help of the Fremen after House Atriedes is betrayed.
Along with the aforementioned actors, Dune’s main cast includes Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, Zendaya and Jason Momoa, among others. The first Dune trailer is expected to arrive next week. While Dune 2 hasn’t officially been given the green light yet, Jon Spaihts, who co-wrote Dune with Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth, is working on the script. There’s also a prequel series in development for HBO Max called Dune: The Sisterhood, which will focus on the Bene Gesserit.
Dune is still slotted for December 18, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates, and find out what other movies are expected to arrive before the year is over with our 2020 release schedule.