Denis Villeneuve: Dune's Paul Atreides is like Godfather's Michael Corleone

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 18 May 2020
Denis Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve

'Dune' director Denis Villeneuve has compared lead character Paul Atreides to Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather'

Denis Villeneuve believes Dune's Paul Atreides is similar to 'The Godfather' character Michael Corleone.

The 52-year-old director has helmed a new version of the sci-fi story – based on Frank Herbert's 1965 novel of the same name – and he thinks that lead character Paul, played by Timothee Chalamet, can be compared to Al Pacino's Mafia boss in 'The Godfather' trilogy, as both are groomed for a role they do not want.

Speaking to Empire magazine, Villeneuve said: "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 a Duke.

"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 the 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."

The 'Blade Runner 2049' filmmaker also hinted that Paul is a layered character who takes an interest in other people.

Denis 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.

"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.

"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."

Timothee previously explained how it was a struggle to film the epic – which was previously brought to the big screen in 1984 by David Lynch – due to it having to be shot in the desert in scorching hot temperatures.

The 24-year-old actor said: "I remember going out of my room at 2am, and it being probably 100 degrees.

"The shooting temperature was sometimes 120 degrees. They put a cap on it out there, if it gets too hot. I forget what the exact number is, but you can't keep working."

'Dune' is set to be released in December 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.