Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in Jordan. PHOTO BY CHIABELLA JAMES.
Whoa! If the excitement of yesterday’s Dune photo didn’t get you excited, today’s will. Vanity Fair released nine new photos from Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune, featuring the members of House Atreides and a first look at Chani, played by Zendaya and her mother, Dr. Liet Kynes.
Dune stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides. Chalamet was featured in the first photo, set on the Atreides’ home planet Caladan. The photos from today’s Vanity Fair feature more of the cast on the planet Arrakis. Dune is based on the Frank Herbert novel about a young hero caught in the middle of a political battle between his father’s house and Atreides rival, House Harkonnen. Let’s meet the parents!
Oscar Isaac plays Duke Leto Atreides. Rebecca Ferguson plays the Lady Jessica. In the book, Jessica doesn’t carry Leto and Paul’s surname because she is not married to the Duke. However, the photo is labeled Lady Jessica Atreides. Jessica is also a member of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, an ancient, political organization with vested interest in the spice of Arrakis.
“She’s a mother, she’s a concubine, she’s a soldier. Denis was very respectful of Frank’s work in the book, [but] the quality of the arcs for much of the women have been brought up to a new level. There were some shifts he did, and they are beautifully portrayed now.” – Rebecca Ferguson, Vanity Fair
Casting for Dune is one of the most star studded in history. Chalamet, Isaac, and Ferguson lead a cast of well known stars in House Atreides. Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, and Stephen McKinley Henderson portray Paul’s mentors. Brolin’s Gurney Hallack and Momoa’s Duncan Idaho teaches Paul about the art of battle. While Henderson’s character, mentat Thufir Hawat, teaches Paul to think logically and quickly. Mentats are like super humans in that they train their minds to think quickly to plan the best course of action. These are the ways of Leto, but Paul has another teacher. Jessica teaches Paul the ways of the Bene Gesserit, even though he is male. That plays a key role in Paul’s journey on Arrakis. Look for an expansion of the character in this film.
The Fremen are the indigenous people of Arrakis. They know the landscape well, including the worms. We’ll talk about the worms later. For now, we have our first look at Chani, played by Zendaya. Chani is Paul’s destined love. He dreams about her before he even meets her. And the meeting helps Paul to listen to the message his dreams are sending.
Chani is the daughter of Dr. Liet Kynes. In the novel, Liet is male. In Villeneuve’s adaptation, Kynes is a fremen woman, overseeing the transition from House Harkonnen to House Atreides. Villeneuve cast Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes, stating that there wasn’t enough female characters in his cast. Duncan-Brewster told VF, “…he [Villeneuve] had always been very feminist, pro-women, and wanted to write the role for a woman. This human being manages to basically keep the peace amongst many people. Women are very good at that, so why can’t Kynes be a woman? Why shouldn’t Kynes be a woman?”
And rounding out the lead Fremen characters is Stilgar, played by Javier Bardem. Stilgar recognizes the value of Paul and Jessica and gives them sanctuary in the tribe. He also becomes Paul’s fifth mentor, standing by Paul through his rebellion against the Padishah Emperor and the Landsraad.
Dune also stars Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista,Charlotte Rampling, David Dastmalchian, and Chang Chen. Villeneuve directed, produced and co-wrote the film with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts. Mary Parent, and Cale Boyter, with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, Thomas Tull, and Kim Herbert executive produce with Villeneuve.
Dune is scheduled to premiere in theaters on December 18, 2020. Check out the photos below.