Zendaya and Timothèe Chalamet speak to the continual relevance of Dune

 Jontaya Moore | Staff Writer

The newest adaptation of Dune has been highly anticipated by fans worldwide. Dune is an epic science film that depicts the chaos of outer dimensional forces. Amid these forces, characters are brought together in hopes of saving their humanity and family lineages. 

In a Warner Bros. college roundtable, 30 college students were selected to interview actors Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet about their roles in the upcoming release of Dune. The interviewers were chosen from their university’s largest major newspaper or media outlet. 

Students were able to see a private screening of the film in order to form film-centric questions. A Zoom was held following the movie presentation, allowing several students to ask specific questions, while all received feedback and journalistic experience. 

Director Denis Villeneuve was driven to recreate the award-winning sci-fi novel after his childhood encounter with the book and the continuing impact it left on his life, according to New York Times Magazine.

“Being that he read it as a young person and was able to grow with it and grow up with it quite literally and has been a fan of it for so long, I think, that is a greater emotional connection to the piece that he’s creating,” Zendaya said. 

Due to the stature that Dune has upheld for decades, numerous directors and critics have withheld from taking on the task of creating a movie since the 1984 version, but the actress believes Villeneuve was the right choice. 

“I don’t think there’s anyone better for the job,” she said.

When it came to Zendaya and Chalamet confirming their positions in the movie, both agreed that it was an undeniable offer. From the director to the notable cast they would get to work alongside, they told the Zoom panelist that it was a dream come true. 

The story of Dune encompases Paul Atreides, a young aristocrat, born into great family lineage. Paul and his family agree to voyage to the most dangerous planet in the galaxy with hopes of securing their future. 

Like the average teen, Paul found himself battling with his identity and the expectations that come with being a part of the house of Atreides. 

“I think those are things that all of us struggle with when we’re that age,” Chalamet said. “Sometimes, like Paul, there’s an ulterior circumstance, something greater than yourself, that pulls you out of that safe setting, that forces you to grow maybe sooner than you were ready to.” 

Throughout the movie, the audience will be able to relate to not only Paul but also other characters as well. The two spoke strongly of their appreciation of their character roles. When asked, the actors stated that they could both connect with Chani, Zendaya’s character, or Paul on a deeper level. 

Villeneueve wanted to keep the film as grounded in reality as possible, according to The New York Times. However, the location of where Dune was filmed made it almost impossible for actors not to feel dreamlike at times. 

In the interview, Zendaya emphasized the director’s ability to never lose sight of the human element and emotion even amid an outer dimension setting. Chalamet said he only filmed two scenes with one green screen in the background. 

“It felt like a constant process of being inspired by everything that was happening around,” he said.

While Zendaya was not on set as long as the rest of the cast, she also shared these “special moments.” She emphasized her gratitude for those moments and spoke to her immersion into her role as Chani. 

Continuing through the journey of Arrakis, Paul and Chani play a major role in the maturing of each other’s characters. Both actors explained that on and off camera their friendship is strong, which helps when it comes to filming certain scenes. 

When asked about what’s to come for Dune and its characters, Chalamet and Zendaya were unable to confirm a sequel for the movie but were hopeful for the opportunity. Both actors were sure of what Dune meant to them and the message they expect it to give to the audience, specifically young adults. 

“The movie is about many things, but if young people can relate to what Chani or Paul are going through at the center of it and can also intake themes that sometimes go over my head, then we succeed,” Chalamet said. 

Dune is set to release on HBO Max on Friday, Oct. 21, and will be in theaters Saturday, Oct. 22.

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