Fallout star Kyle MacLachlan looks back on playing the Paul Atreides in Dune 1984

Kyle MacLachlan, who's having yet another career revival thanks to his role in Fallout, compares the new Dune movies to the one he starred in back in the 1980s.
Kyle MacLachlan with Dune Pin
Kyle MacLachlan with Dune Pin / Eugene Adebari/GettyImages

Kyle MacLachlan has been acting for decades, and he seems to be having the latest in a series of career spikes. Not only does he play the key role of Hank MacLean in Amazon's new sci-fi show Fallout, which was just renewed for a second season, but he's also basking in some reflected thanks to the huge success of Dune: Part Two, which stars Timothée Chalamet as desert messiah Paul Atreides. That's because, 40 years ago, MacLachlan played Paul Atreides in the first attempt to adapt Frank Herbert's novel Dune to the big screen.

Although I don't think MacLachlan would approve of the comparison, I'm here to tell you that the 1984 Dune movie, while interesting, is not as good as the new Dune movies directed by Denis Villeneuve. There were a lot of problems behind the scenes; even David Lynch, who directed the older movie, has disowned it.

Still, Dune 1984 has become a cult favorite, and MacLachlan looks back on it fondly. "I read the book when I was 15 … and it really spoke to me,” he told Forbes. “I carried that with me all the way through, low and behold, eight years after I read it for the first time, I’m auditioning and screen testing and ultimately cast in the role of Paul. It was mind-blowing to me coming out of Seattle with no experience on film.”

MacLachlan also loved the newer movie with Timothée Chalamet playing his old part. And there are few people in a better position to assess the similarities and differences between the two version. “I love it so much — it was really fun to see Timothée take on the role,” he said. “I loved seeing the characters they came up with and I loved seeing how some scenes, word by word, were very similar to our version.”

"Obviously it was different eras in which the films were made and different filmmakers. David is an artist, so he’s going to bring his artistic sensibility to the film and what you’re going to have is an amalgam of Frank and David Lynch. I think Denis did more of an interpretation of Frank’s book, so they’re different in their approaches."

“I saw Dune and [thought], ‘These worlds can co-exist,” MacLachlan concluded. “Both of the movies can exist and both of them are enjoyable for their own reasons."

After Dune 1984, MacLachlan went on to have a long and fruitful working relationship with David Lynch, appearing in the director's 1986 film Blue Velvet and later in the phenomenally popular surrealist detective series Twin Peaks, which was brought back for a third season 25 years after the second in 2017.

And now he's in Fallout, which will hopefully be back on screens sooner rather than later. As for Denis Villenueve's Dune movies, he's planning a third that would involve Chalamet returning to the role of Paul Atreides. Would it be that hard to give MacLachlan a cameo in Dune: Part Three, whenever it ends up happening? Just stick him in a flowy robe and put him in the background somewhere and I'll be happy.

dark. Next. Every actor who's played Paul, Chani and other characters from Dune: Who did it best?. Every actor who's played Paul, Chani and other characters from Dune: Who did it best?

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