Actor Timothée Chalamet to play Paul Atreides in Dune adaptation


Deadline reports that Oscar-nominated actor Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) is in final talks to portray Paul Atreides in an upcoming adaptation of Dune. Legendary Entertainment acquired the film and television rights to author Frank Herbert’s iconic, best-selling science fiction novel (and its sequels) in 2016.

Paul Atreides is the main character of the first three books of the series — Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune — which take place tens of thousands of years in the future when man has explored and colonized several planets throughout the known galaxy and beyond. The son of Duke Leto Atreides and the Bene Gesserit witch Lady Jessica, Paul travels with his family and its army to the planet of Arrakis (also known as Dune) which is the only known source of a drug called melange, commonly known as spice.

Created by gigantic sandworms, spice is the most valuable commodity in the known universe. It extends a person’s life, gives them heightened senses, and can even unlock prescience in some, which is what happens to Paul. Using it makes interstellar travel possible, and gives people “blue-in-blue” colored eyes. Unfortunately, it’s also highly addictive, and withdrawals are almost always fatal.

In the Dune novels, the Emperor and House Harkonnen conspire to eradicate House Atreides, and almost succeed, but Paul and his mother, who is pregnant with his sister, escape assassination and are taken in by Dune’s native inhabitants, the Freman. Paul, taking on the name of Muad’Dib, goes on to lead the Freman in a campaign to overthrow the Emperor and House Harkonnen. Basically, it’s Game of Thrones meets Star Wars.

In 1984, David Lynch directed Dune, based on the first novel, with Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides. Plagued by studio interference, the movie was a box office flop, grossing $30 million on a $40 million budget. The film later garnered a cult following, but was not a faithful adaptation of Frank Herbert’s book.

In 2000, SyFy adapted Herbert’s work as a miniseries, Frank Herbert’s Dune. Alec Newman played Paul Atreides. In 2003, a sequel miniseries was released called Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune. It combined the second and third novels and starred James McAvoy as Paul’s son Leto. Both series were critically acclaimed and extremely popular with fans of the novels, but the budgets fell well short of what was capable on the big screen.

Legendary has plans to make several films based on Frank Herbert’s first six novels (Herbert’s son Brian took up the mantle and wrote several more novels after Frank’s death, but I’m not sure if those books are part of the deal), but there is no release date as of yet. Denis Villeneuve (ArrivalBladerunner 2049) has been tapped to direct.

Next: Joss Whedon making sci-fi drama “The Nevers” for HBO

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