Stellan Skarsgard: Denis Villeneuve free to put 'personal stamp' on Dune

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 17 September 2019
Denis Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve

Stellan Skarsgard has revealed 'Dune' helmer Denis Villeneuve appeared to have been given the freedom to put his own "personal stamp" on the remake of the literary sci-fi classic

Stellan Skarsgard says Denis Villeneuve "seems" to have been given "pretty free hands" to direct 'Dune'.

The 68-year-old actor stars in the sci-fi epic – a new adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel of the same name – as Baron Harkonnen and has teased that the legendary filmmaker has been allowed to put his own "personal stamp" on the upcoming Warner Bros. movie.

Speaking to Collider, Skarsgard said: "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."

On what Villeneuve will bring to the "simple story", he added: "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."

The 'Thor' star's praise of Villeneuve comes after David Dastmalchian hailed him one of the "greatest filmmakers of our time" after working with him on 'Dune'.

The 34-year-old actor said he "brings so much" to the project and he is "grateful and excited" to be part of his "vision".

Dastmalchian said: "I'm so grateful and excited to be a part of Denis' vision. I think that he is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time and any time, and I believe what he's going to do here, it's just going to take people to a whole other place.

"He brings so much. When you think about 'Arrival' and 'Blade Runner 2049' specifically, because those are the two science fiction films that he's crafted. You see his gift for telling stories that are visually stunning, but that are also rooted in really complex ideas and really fascinating characters."

'Dune' tells the complex story of a fallen noble family's attempt to control a desert planet named Arrakis and its export, a rare drug called melange – also known as "the spice" – which if taken can extend life, improve health and bestow limited prescience. Melange is also vital to space travel and the most sought after commodity in the universe.

'Bird Box' star Dastmalchian plays Piter De Vries – played by Brad Dourif in David Lynch's 1984 film – a Mentat human who serves the Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) and is addicted to the spice.

De Vries is a human who is specially trained to perform mental functions rivalling the computers that are forbidden in this universe.

The movie boasts an incredible cast that includes Josh Brolin, Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Dave Bautista and Rebecca Ferguson among others.

'Dune' will be split into two films and the first instalment – which will be based on the first half of the novel – is set for release on November 20, 2020.


  • 5 stars
  • 2021
  • US
  • 2h 35min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
  • Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen
  • UK release: 21 October 2021

The director of Blade Runner 2049 takes a crack at Frank Herbert's notoriously unfilmable sci-fi epic. The story is to be split across two films.