Former Dune Actor James McAvoy Shares The Piece Of Advice He’d Give To Current Dune Actor Timothee Chalamet Or Anyone In A Sci-Fi Film

Leto II Atreides letting Gurney Halleck know that he will be taking on the sandworms in Children of Dune

Lovers of Dune have gone through multiple adaptations of the beloved book series, but Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is poised to be closer to the source compared to David Lynch’s 1984 version. That said, adapting the books comes with a certain amount of weight, especially in meeting fans’ expectations. So, there’s quite a bit of pressure for Villeneuve and the film’s cast. If anyone knows the pressure associated with a Dune adaptation, it is X-Men: Apocalypse star James McAvoy. With the latest Dune adaptation weeks away from arriving in theaters, McAvoy had some keen advice for the current Dune actors, as well as other sci-fi stars.

When James McAvoy came into the fold, it had been almost two decades since David Lynch’s film adaptation arrived in theaters. McAvoy portrayed Paul Atreides’ son Leto II in the 2003 miniseries Children of Dune. At the time of its release, the miniseries received a mixed reception, with the cast’s performances and the books’ hard-to-adapt themes cited as hindrances. So McAvoy can see the critical and audience expectations hitting the new cast hard. Timothee Chalamet plays Paul Atreides in the upcoming film. Having been through the pressure before, the My Son star had an interesting take on Chalamet headlining the film, saying:

I was in an adaptation of the second and third books. He is in the first book. And he’s playing a character who ultimately becomes my father, in terms of the character dialogue. So, no. I’ve got no advice for him. And he doesn’t need any advice from me, he’s a cracking actor.

While he didn’t have any advice for Timothee Chalamet, James McAvoy did offer the Dune cast a takeaway when it comes to sci-fi fare. McAvoy revealed to Slashfilm what suspending disbelief can do for actors:

But I’ll tell you what’s one really good piece of advice that was given to me once, was by the cast of ... what was the show called again? Farscape. And it was at the L.A. premiere of Children of Dune, and they said to me, that the thing with this shit, i.e., science fiction, is that you have to believe it more than you believe good writing. Good writing, you can just do. It’s easier.

It was nice to know that the Farscape cast offered that advice to James McAvoy and his Children of Dune co-stars. Oftentimes genre films require not only the audience to suspend their belief, but the talent to do so as well. Much of the then-Sci-Fi Channel's 2000s shows were built around that mindset. At least McAvoy took that sage advice in stride. But he wasn’t done instilling the advice he received. McAvoy also gave some insight into pushing through when doing sci-fi and fantasy films:

But this stuff is hard because it’s so bonkers, you know what I mean? And I’ve really, I’ve always remembered that advice and taken it to heart. It’s so kept me going really, through a lot of science fiction and fantasy work that I’ve done. Because it was Claudia Black that said it. And I think that’s just good advice for any actor doing any kind of science fiction and/or fantasy, you know?

At least, James McAvoy knows what the Dune cast will probably experience from audiences and critics. But moviegoers won’t have to wait much longer, as Denis Villeneuve’s Dune arrives in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22.

Adreon Patterson
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