Zendaya Explains Her Relationship With Timothee Chalamet In Dune

Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet

There’s a lot going on in Dune. Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) is rising in the ranks of his own family, and just might have a destination larger than the one he can see right in front of him. His father, Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac), wrestles with the difficulties of moving to the arid planet of Arrakis, and Paul keeps an eye on a pending Crusade, which could sweep up allies such as Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa) and Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin).

But Paul dreams. And when he dreams, he sees Chani (Zendaya), a mysterious woman who’ll cross his path, in time. Who is she? What is her relevance to the story of Dune? During a recent press conference, Zendaya – who plays Chani in Denis Villeneuve’s big-screen adaptation – opened up about the relationship shared between her character and that of Paul, played by Timothee Chalamet. She explained:

What can I tell you? People obviously know things from the books. I think, upon their first meeting, she’s tough, right? She’s aware that she’s native to this planet [of Arrakis]. This is all she knows. And so this is kind of this ‘other kid’ coming in. And she's not really feeling it. [Laughs] That’s to the Fremen culture. They have a very strong culture and bond within amongst each other. She obviously doesn't know about these visions. He knows her. She doesn't know him. There are these moments that – I don't want to give anything away – but these moments where she sees something in him that is obviously an indicator of what is to come. And again, I got a little bit of time to be with her as a character and to exist in whatever their relationship will become. It is very special, and we do already start to see whatever it is that’s there.

This is probably a reasonable time to remind folks that Dune is a dense read that has a lot of story ground to cover. So much so that Dune director Denis Villeneuve convinced Warner Bros. to break the story into two movies, and Zendaya’s Chani might play a larger role in the second half of the story. Zendaya herself has alluded to the fact that she’s not in as much of Dune as fans might like, but she’s a big part of the new trailer, as the groundwork for her contributions are laid.

If you haven’t seen the new Dune trailer yet, check it out now:

At this moment, WB is still aiming to have Denis Villeneuve’s Dune in theaters in December. The epic sci-fi adaptation boasts an impressive cast, as Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya will be joined on screen by Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skarsgard and Javier Bardem. More on the movie as we get closer to release!

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.