If Game of Thrones veteran Jason Momoa had this intense a time making Dune, imagine what it’s going to be like the rest of us to watch it.
In a perfect world, we would have already seen Denis Villeneuve’s take on Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune. The new movie was originally supposed to open this past weekend, but kept getting pushed back (thanks, coronavirus) to the point where we’re going to have to wait until next year to see it.
And that sucks, but the movie looks like it’ll be worth the wait. Even if the story wasn’t already beloved, which it is, the cast alone is ready to be excited: Timothée Chalamet as hero Paul Atreides, Oscar Isaac as his father Duke Leto, Javier Bardem as the Fremen leader Stilgar, Jason Momoa as House Atreides swordmaster Ducan Idaho…and the list goes on. The cast is nuts, to the point where a big name like Momoa was starstruck while making it, as he recently told Men’s Health.
We were sitting at this table, and the scene is all about Javier walking into the room. I’ve never seen someone strut into a room like such a boss. He just comes right up to this table and stares everybody down. He’s glaring at everyone else but giving me a little bit of a twinkle, and I’m just giggling inside because I can’t believe I’m at this table right now. So then he delivers his lines and just kills it.
I know exactly the scene he’s referring to: it’s pretty early on, when Duke Leto and his family have just landed on the planet of Arrakis, aka Dune, and are trying to make contact with the native Fremen people, led by Bardem’s character. A meeting is held and someone slobbers on a table in respect; it’ll make sense when you see it.
But in short order, Momoa’s delight turned to nerves as his turn came to deliver lines. “And right after that, Denis goes up to [Bardem] and starts giving him notes,” the actor recalled. “I’m shocked, like, ‘What the hell could you possibly be giving him notes on?’ So I’m standing there absolutely terrified because I had to deliver all this sci-fi exposition, which is not my bag at all. And then I did it and I did not get any notes at all. I was so unbelievably happy I could have cried.”
I don’t think he had anything to worry about. As Villeneuve lays out, Momoa is pretty much perfect for the role of the swashbuckling swordmaster. “Duncan Idaho is a true heroic knight figure, a proud, courageous, righteous, and ruthless man, famous for his unmatchable fighting skills,” the director said. “He’s also a bit of a bohemian. I thought that Jason would be perfect to embody him. Like Duncan Idaho, Jason has an insane charisma that makes people gravitate around him. Jason is a force of nature. He’s bigger than life.”
It’s just one good casting choice out of many. I need this movie now.
One person who probably won’t be seeing it, however, is Momoa’s son Nokoa-Wolf, who’s not quite old enough to understand that what’s happening onscreen isn’t happening in real life. “My son just loses it,” Momoa said. “’Papa, are you okay?’ And I’m like, ‘Son, I’m sitting right next to you. We’re good. This was two years ago. Just watch the movie.’”
He’ll watch the movie with his kids when they’re old enough to take the violent scenes. The rest of us can take it in on October 1, 2021, fingers crossed.