Published On: Sun, Apr 14th, 2024

Why Dune Director Denis Villeneuve Was Dead Set On Casting Timothée Chalamet

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In another interview in 2022, the director elaborated even further: “I was not afraid for a second that [Chalamet] would not be able to carry the weight of the project … I needed an old soul in the body of a teenager, and he was the perfect actor to bring that.”

What also helped for Villeneuve were the “beautiful, aristocratic features” of Chalamet’s face, not to mention Chalamet’s already growing status as a young heartthrob — not much different from where Leonardo DiCaprio was 25 years ago. Villeneuve was so enamored with Chalamet, in fact, that the entire casting process for the first movie was centered around him. As the director told Newsweek in 2021:

“At first we started with Timothée and then we chose who Timothée’s mother will be. Then it was who Timothée’s father will be — Paul Atreides’ father … We built the family, that family, and from there we expanded and went to explore the characters around this family. It was like building slowly a world, but starting with Paul as the center of everything.”

In other words, the entire main cast of “Dune” would probably be different if Chalamet hadn’t been involved. This is his franchise almost as much as it is Villeneuve’s, and it should continue to be so as we head into the climactic “Part Three.” Will Chalamet be able to play an older, weathered Paul Atreides? There’s been no reason to doubt him yet. 

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