Part Two Demands That Timothée Chalamet Step Up His Game – And He Pulls It Off


Thanks to some smart changes from the book made by Villeneuve, Chalamet doesn’t have to shoulder the burden of Paul’s dilemma alone. Chani (Zendaya), who is barely a character in the book and supports Paul pretty much unquestioningly, takes on an expanded role in “Dune: Part Two” as a leading voice in a faction of Fremen who do not believe in the prophecy. She suspects (correctly) that the promise of a leader from another world has simply been used to enslave them, and will now be used to turn them into an army for someone else’s cause. This conflict, which mostly goes on inside Paul’s mind in the book, is therefore externalized through the push-and-pull of the two characters.

For his part, Chalamet has admitted that he was impatient for Paul to get past his own inner torment and embrace his messiah status. “There were moments over the course of shooting the first film where I was yearning for Paul, after he left Caladan, to not still be in the process of formation,” Chalamet told Total Film earlier this year. “My most common way of expressing that was: ‘When does Paul become Muad’Dib?’ [Denis] would always preach patience.”

The actor’s eagerness to become Muad’Dib definitely shows in the movie. Chalamet doesn’t fully spring to life until after Paul drinks the Water of Life, opening his mind up to the ancestral memories of both his male and female forebears, which in turn allows him to see possible futures far more clearly. But the portion of the movie that he spends being humble and amiable and non-threatening is vital. That understated performance sets the stage for Paul’s sharp, sudden, post-Water of Life pivot.

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