Denis Villeneuve Compares Timothée Chalamet’s ‘Dune’ Story Arc to ‘The Godfather’

New images from “Dune” just keep on coming this week. On the heels of director Denis Villeneuve dropping a first look at one of his movie’s big action set pieces comes a new image of “Dune” protagonist Paul Atreides, played in the film by Timothée Chalamet. Empire magazine premiered the photo alongside a few statements from Villeneuve that continue to pull back the curtain on what moviegoers can expect from Chalamet’s hero. “Dune” is notable for being Chalamet’s first time leading a massive studio tentpole.

“Paul has been raised in a very strict environment with a lot of training, because he’s the son of a Duke and one day … he’s training to be the Duke,” Villeneuve said. “But as much as he’s been prepared and trained for that role, is it really what he dreams to be? That’s the contradiction of that character. It’s like Michael Corleone in ‘The Godfather’ – it’s someone that has a very tragic fate and he will become something that he was not wishing to become.”

Villeneuve is aiming for “Dune” to be a two-part movie, and he told Empire that Paul “will become a man” over the course of the first installment. The director said, “His survival depends on being able to make the right decisions and adapt to different dangerous situations. It’s a very beautiful story about someone that becomes empowered.”

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“Like any young adult he is looking for his identity and trying to understand his place in the world, and he will have to do things that none of his ancestors were able to do in order to survive,” the director continued. “He has a beautiful quality of being curious about other people, of having empathy, something that will attract him towards other cultures, and that’s what will save his life.”

Chalamet told Vanity Fair last month that he was attracted to “Dune” because of Paul’s character arc, calling his character’s journey in the film “an anti-hero’s-journey of sorts.”

Warner Bros. is set to open “Dune” in theaters December 18.

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