Stellan Skarsgard Says Denis Villeneuve Had “Pretty Free Hands” Directing ‘Dune’

     September 16, 2019

The new Dune movie is a major undertaking for Warner Bros., but between the source material, the incredible talent attached, and the film’s potential to reignite a major franchise opportunity, the payoff could be huge. The movie could be a big holiday play for Warner Bros. with a December 18, 2020 release featuring top talent including Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling, David Dastmalchian, Zendaya and also Stellan Skarsgård who just attended the Toronto International Film Festival.

While in Toronto for the premiere of Hope, a wildly impressive and devastating relationship drama with unforgettable performances from both Andrea Bræin Hovig and Skarsgård, the pair swung by the Collider Lounge to chat about the film. We’ll have the full conversation on Hope for you very soon, but we couldn’t resist the urge to ask Skarsgård a little something about working with director Denis Villeneuve on Dune. Here’s what he told us:


Image via Universal

“I’ve always wanted to work with him partly because he’s such a wonderful man, but also because he’s a brilliant director. It’s fun when you get one of those big sci-fi movies and you know it’s going to be directed by a true filmmaker. It’s not going to be directed by the studio. It seemed like they were giving him pretty free hands. And you have to, because his personal stamp on the film is paramount for the success of it.”

The story takes place in the distant future when a spice called melange is the most valuable substance in existence. The only place to get melange? On the planet Arrakis. The Harkonnen family once ruled Arrakis but the planet is reassigned to their enemies, House Atreides. Eventually the Harkonnens seize it back and then it’s up to young Paul Atreides (Chalamet) to regain control of Arrakis. Skarsgård steps in as one of the film’s main villains, Baron Harkonnen. He laughed and explained, “I had seven hours in make-up every day because I had to be really fat.”

hope-interview-stellan-skarsgard-andrea-hovigAgain, Dune is quite the endeavor for Villeneuve and the studio so we asked Skarsgård what it is about this new adaptation that’ll capture the attention and imaginations of moviegoers worldwide:

“What he’s really good at is creating this strange atmosphere with his imagery and this cinematic poetry that is his trademark and that will add so much richness to the pretty simple story.”

Not only is this new Dune movie scheduled to hit theaters on December 18, 2020, but Villeneuve is also attached to direct the pilot episode of a Dune TV series called Dune: The Sisterhood. Legendary reportedly has high hopes for an epic Dune franchise including the movie, the show, comic books, video fames and digital content packages. For more on all of the budding Dune projects, browse the links below.

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Image via Hodder & Stoughton

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