A couple weeks after the first character photos from Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” dropped online, now comes a first taste of what the director’s big-budget action scenes will look like on screen. Empire magazine has premiered a new still from “Dune” (see below) that shows Timothée Chalamet and Josh Brolin in the midst of one of the film’s big action moments. Chalamet’s protagonist Paul Atreides is seen balancing on an airborne ornithopter alongside Brolin’s Gurney Halleck, Paul’s weapons teacher. The characters are flying over the desert planet Arrakis.
In a statement to Empire magazine, Villeneuve called the scene being depicted below one of the pivotal moments for Chalamet’s lead character. “It’s Paul’s first contact with the deep desert, where he’s mesmerized by it,” the filmmaker told Empire. “He has a strange feeling of being home. There’s a lot of action at this specific moment, and [it’s] one of the scenes in the movie that I’m starting to get pretty proud of.”
Chalamet had a supporting role in Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” but “Dune” marks the actor’s first time leading a major Hollywood tentpole. The Oscar nominee told Vanity Fair last month that he was attracted to “Dune” because of Paul’s character arc. “The immediately appealing thing about Paul was the fact that in a story of such detail and scale and world-building, the protagonist is on an anti-hero’s-journey of sorts,” he said. “He thinks he’s going to be sort of a young general studying his father and his leadership of a fighting force before he comes of age, hopefully a decade later, or something like that.”
For Villeneuve, “Dune” is a passion project that he’s planning to tell over two movies. The director has said the only reason he signed on to direct “Dune” is because the studio agreed to allow him to split Frank Herbert’s novel into two parts. Villeneuve has become one of science fiction’s go-to masters thanks to efforts such as “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049.” The former earned Villeneuve an Oscar nomination for Best Director, while the latter earned Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.
Warner Bros. is planning to release “Dune” in theaters nationwide December 18. Head over to Empire magazine to read more from Villeneuve.