Dune star Timothée Chalamet is ready for action in this exclusive new image

Timothée Chalamet in Dune
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Dune – the sci-fi epic based on Frank Herbert’s seminal, series-spawning 1965 novel – is almost in cinemas after its pandemic-imposed delay.

This film version has been a longtime passion project for director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049). Set on desert planet Arrakis – where the spice melange is mined – Dune follows the fortunes of the Atreides family and its young heir, Paul. In Villeneuve’s movie, Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name, The French Dispatch) plays Paul, and it seems there was only one choice for that. "We said, ‘It’s Timothée [Chalamet].’ We didn’t have a Plan B," Villeneuve tells Total Film magazine in their new issue. "Honestly, if he had said no, I don’t know what I would have done. There would be no Dune, maybe."

Villeneuve was confident that Chalamet had the charisma and "deep intelligence" to convincingly take his childhood hero from the young heir of House Atreides to the future Kwisatz Haderach. But Paul is also a skilled combatant, who uses his wits and speed to go toe-to-toe with fierce fighters, as you can see in this exclusive image via Total Film magazine, in which Paul squares off against the Fremen Jamis (Babs Olusanmokun), crysknife in hand.

Timothée Chalamet in Dune

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

"Of course, [Paul] has all of those techniques that make him a very dangerous fighter, but it doesn’t rely on external muscles," Villeneuve explains. "How can I say it? I was like Paul. I looked like Timothée when I was 16 years old. So maybe it’s like vengeance [laughs]. I created my hero. He looks like what I used to look like, and he’s kicking the ass of the big guys, you know? It’s like Revenge Of The Nerds."

Dune opens in UK cinemas on October 21, and in UK cinemas and on HBO Max on October 22. For more on Dune, plus Halloween Kills, John Carpenter, Dev Patel, Reminiscence and more, check out the new issue of Total Film magazine when it hits newsstands in stores and on digital retailers from Friday, July 23. Check out the covers as shared by Jamie Lee Curtis herself, below:

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(Image credit: Total Film)
Matt Maytum
Deputy Editor, Total Film

I'm the Deputy Editor at Total Film magazine, looking after the long-form features there, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.