Dune 2 Crew Spent Weeks 'Casting' For... Literal Sand Dunes
The director envisioned a specific dune shape for each scene, so the production designer had to spend weeks in the desert.
Although Dune: Part Two was recently postponed due to the ongoing Hollywood strikes, the film is practically complete at this point (which has only made some fans even more upset).
In a new cover story for Empire, Denis Villeneuve, the director of the movie and its predecessor, shed some light on the filming process and what changes to expect from the first installment.
While the 2021 film featured several different planets, including the oceanic world of Caladan, the ancestral home of House Atreides, and the dark homeworld of House Harkonnen, Giedi Prime, the titular Dune, or Arrakis, remained at the center of the action.
And that will remain the case for the sequel, even though we saw glimpses of other planets in the trailer, so the director took the choice of desert landscape very seriously.
The film crew had to go to great lengths to create a whole casting process for literal sand dunes, because the director needed a dune of a certain shape for each scene, while the cinematographer needed it to be in a certain light.
Patrice Vermette, the film's production designer, spent several weeks searching for the ideal one between the Liwa desert in Abu Dhabi and Wadi Rum in Jordan.
But sand is not the only thing we will see in the upcoming movie, as Arrakeen, the planet's capital, has changed quite a bit since we last saw it in part one.
The Harkonnen invaders have made the city more like their homeworld, making it feel like a "fake, plastic world influenced by the aesthetic of septic tanks.
Vermette likened the spread of their oppressive culture to a cancer eating away at the planet and its inhabitants.
Speaking of villains, the movie will finally introduce the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV in the flesh, and Villeneuve made it clear that casting Christopher Walken in the role was a no-brainer because "there's something about that man that commands respect."
When the actor arrived on set, he even scared the director, who described Walken as "unpredictable, poetic and powerful."
Dune: Part Two will be released on March 15, 2024, and if it proves to be a success, Denis Villeneuve has already expressed interest in making Dune a trilogy.