Dune Director Says Timothee Chalamet Was Only Option to Play Paul Atreides

It might be a while before fans get to see Denis Villeneuve's Dune movie, but that's not stopping folks from getting hyped about the project. The film has a star-studded cast with Timothée Chalamet leading the film as Paul Atreides. Paul is the son of Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) and is destined to become the reluctant messiah Muad'Dib. Recently, GQ did a profile on Chalamet and spoke to Villeneuve, who explained why Chalamet was his "first and only choice" to play the movie's lead.

"I felt there was one being on this planet right now that would be able to portray Paul Atreides," Villeneuve shared. "He has a deep, deep intelligence in the eyes. Something you cannot fake. The kid is brilliant. Very intellectual, very strong. And you see that in the eyes. He also has a very old soul. You feel that he has already lived through several lives. And at the same time, he looks so young on camera. Sometimes he'd look almost 14 years old. He has this kind of general youth in his features and the contrast with the old-soul quality in his eyes—it's a kid that knows more about life than his age."

The director added, "Finally: He has that beautiful charisma, the charisma of a rock star. That Paul will lead the whole population of a planet later. Timothée has that kind of instant charisma onscreen that you can find only sometimes in the Old Hollywood stars from the '20s. There's something of a romantic beauty to him. A cross of aristocracy and being a bum at the same time. I mean, Timothée is Paul Atreides for me. It was a big relief that he agreed because I had no plan b."

In a previous interview, Villeneuve talked about the possibility of making more than one Dune film. "The story is so rich and complex that, in order to be faithful to the book, we’ll need to make at least two movies," Villeneuve shared during a panel (via Variety). "That was a deal right at the start."

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In addition to Chalamet, Dune's cast includes Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Stephen Henderson, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem. Villeneuve directed the film from a screenplay he co-wrote with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts based on Frank Herbert's novel.

For now, Dune is rumored to be scheduled for release on October 1, 2021.