Stellan Skarsgård as the Baron in Dune

When Stellan Skarsgård was announced for Warner Bros.' adaptation of Dune, his presence added to an already stacked lineup. The celebrated actor was a great choice to play Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in the anticipated film. Given the Baron’s huge presence, Skarsgård needed some extra help to channel his character. The actor revealed how much time he spent in the makeup chair.

Stellan Skarsgård’s role in Dune will bring one of fiction’s most menacing villains to the big screen for the first time in over three decades. Given the Baron’s immense size, Skarsgård needed some time in makeup to become Dune's main antagonist. The actor revealed the following about the makeup process:

I did eight or ten days on the movie, so my character doesn’t show up for too much, but his presence will be felt. He’s such a frightening presence where even if he doesn’t say anything, I think you’ll be afraid of him. And I’m extremely fat. I had eight hours in the makeup chair every day. And in some scenes, I look very tall because I levitate. You’re going to have a lot of fun with it.

As Stellan Skarsgård told The Daily Beast, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen isn’t in the film very much, so spending hours in the makeup chair was a tradeoff. Skarsgård did give props to Dune director Dennis Villeneuve for recreating the atmosphere of the original novel. The actor seemed to love working with the director by calling Villeneuve “a beautiful man.”

The announcement that Stellan Skarsgård would play the Baron sent fans’ expectations through the roof. Given the actor’s past work, Skarsgård’s performance is bound to give a new twist to celebrated book and movie villain. His version of Harkonnen from the trailer appeared to more menacing and terrifying compared to the 1984 adaptation. So the latest adaptation seems poised to be a major deal in 2021.

Despite Stellan Skarsgård’s praise for the film and its director, Dune has faced an uphill battle to its 2021 release. The film missed its original date because of theater shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Things seemed to be fine once Warner Bros. announced a new release date. However, things quickly escalated when WarnerMedia and HBO Max announced their hybrid release plan, leading to Dennis Villeneuve expressing his disappointment about the decision. Some of the film’s stars even supported Villeneuve’s stance. WarnerMedia later admitted to not giving the filmmakers a bigger voice in the controversial release plan.

While the drama between Dennis Villeneuve and WarnerMedia has died down, Dune’s hybrid strategy might still be in question, with writer Eric Roth also questioning his return for a sequel. So the Dune drama seems to still be brewing, which has seemingly been there ever since the film has wrapped up. Hopefully this doesn’t sully the experience of Dune fans as they flock to theaters and HBO Max on Oct. 1, 2021.

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