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Timothée Chalamet is the chosen one Paul Atreides in ‘Dune: Part Two’

“Dune: Part Two” takes the audience back to the desert as the action-epic directed by Denis Villlaneuve takes the story to greater heights. Timothée Chalamet returns as the hero Paul Atreides, the son of a Duke born into a destiny greater than his royal title. Paul is now fully entrenched in the epic adventure that has taken him across the galaxy to the barren and inhospitable Planet Arrakis, where even greater danger awaits at every turn. With his father dead, his mother on a journey of her own, and Chani by his side, Paul must earn the respect of the skeptical local population, the Fremen, face his fears, and, ultimately, face his most brutal enemies, in order to defend Arrakis and exact revenge upon the people who destroyed his family.

Timothée has received various accolades throughout his career, including nominations for an Academy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and three BAFTA Film Awards. He rose to fame in his role in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, and recently starred in the musical film Wonka.

In the following interview, he talks about his thoughts on returning to the world of Dune, working with Zendaya once more Paul’s relationship with Chani, and training for his action scenes, including his battle sequence with Austin Butler.

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

On returning to the world of “Dune” for “Dune: Part Two”

Timothee Chalamet: “It was a dream to return to the world of ‘Dune,’ not only returning to castmates I had a beautiful working experience with the first time, but also getting to see their characters expand, like Chani. And getting to work with new, super-talented actors, like Austin Butler, and Florence Pugh, who I’d done a film with before. And of course getting to see Denis bring his full vision to life.”

On Paul’s journey within the story

TC: “This part of the story, for Paul Atreides, is about a young man not wanting to accept his destiny, or fate, that’s unfolding before him—a duty, a responsibility to lead that feels greater than what he’s capable of, and what he wants to do. It will require so much of him that his immediate preoccupation, his immediate desire to love and be loved by Chani, will be superseded by this responsibility. And because of what happened in the first movie, he’s struggling with what it is to become a man without a father or father figure, without his friends and family, who have been obliterated by the Harkonnen. Also, what it means as an outsider to be chosen, whether by destiny or by people, to lead.”

On Paul’s evolution within the Fremen

TC: “Paul is meant to go down a path that he’s reluctant to. He still has visions, which are not entirely clear to him, but which are destructive; he doesn’t want to go anywhere near them. As he becomes more a part of the Fremen, he becomes the Muad’Dib—a namesake he chooses for the desert mouse that lives on Arrakis. This is actually one of my favorite parts of the book and of the film because often we see the lion or tiger or cheetah as the animalistic metaphor for our leaders, our heroes. And there’s something apt about this small desert mouse that moves in the cracks and is self-sustaining with its moisture—barely—that works for this young man whose circumstance is so beyond him, whose life story is something of a tragedy, having lost his father and his people, but he has to persevere. It’s not Paul the Braveheart or Paul the Lionheart, it’s Paul the Muad’Dib. There’s something that I always found powerful about that.”

On connecting to Paul having to accept his destiny

TC: “Paul is reluctant. He’s not a person who has delusions of grandeur and power. So, I had to think, what would that actually mean, if that was your fate? What would that actually feel like? What would it be like to stand in the middle of a room and declare yourself a leader, and be entirely within your rights doing so? And what would that entail?”

On Paul’s changing relationship with Chani

TC: “Chani is sort of Paul’s moral compass. Her strong ethics add to her great character, and Paul feels that he’s similar to her, that he’s worthy, ethically, and he’s trying to become a partner to her, the man he wants to be to her, and they grow incredibly close. Chani’s so sure of herself, so on her heels. She knows who she is, her heart’s in the right place.”

On working with Zendaya again

TC: “Zendaya is strong, like Chani, in many ways. We only had a couple of days working together on the first film, but we became quite close and good friends after that. But I think the friendship that had grown between the films helped us grow Paul and Chani for this one. It was a wonderful experience to get to work with the actor she’s become—she’s firing on all cylinders! She was a real partner in crime and I’m grateful we had such a great experience.”

On working with Florence Pugh again

TC: “Florence Pugh is amazing in this movie. She brought a steeliness, a fierceness, to this role that is just incredible. It was inspiring to be working with her.”

On training for his fight scene with Austin Butler in the film

TC: “Training started from day one. I started learning the fight choreography in Los Angeles, I think Austin was already in Budapest. So, as soon as I got there, we were working on the fight. He was a dedicated scene partner and fight partner. Not only is he an incredible actor, he’s a super hard worker, he really cares about the work. And that whole sequence was just epic—no other way to put it.”

On the sandworm riding sequence and its significance in the film

TC: “The sandworm sequence—scene 62!—was shot over the course of three months. There was an entire worm unit dedicated to it that our producer Tanya Lapointe, who was also our second unit director, directed, and she was hugely passionate about it. It’s such an important moment in Paul’s entry to the Fremen world, his acceptance by them—other than Chani and Stilgar, of course—and it was so important to get it right. It was incredibly complex. Paul learning how to ride the sandworm is akin to coming of age. It’s a rite of passage and one of the main reason Paul is accepted amongst the Fremen, because someone who wasn’t one with Shai-Hulud, which is the Fremen word for the sandworm, would have died in that predicament, and Paul doesn’t. He rides the worm.”

Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, Dune: Part Two is now showing in Philippine cinemas

About “Dune: Part Two”

“Dune: Part Two” will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

Denis Villeneuve directed from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts based on Frank Herbert’s novel. The film is produced by Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Villeneuve, Tanya Lapointe and Patrick McCormick. The executive producers are Josh Grode, Herbert W. Gains, Jon Spaihts, Thomas Tull, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, Kim Herbert, with Kevin J. Anderson serving as creative consultant. Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer is again on hand to create the score.

The film stars Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Léa Seydoux, with Stellan Skarsgård, with Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem.

In cinemas on February 28, 2024, “Dune: Part Two” is distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Discovery company.

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