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Zendaya in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune
Zendaya in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming adaptation of Dune

Zendaya shares info about her role in ‘incredible’ Dune remake

The actor plays Chani, the love interest of Timothée Chalamet’s Paul in Denis Villeneuve’s forthcoming sci-fi film

As we continue to wait in unbridled anticipation for Denis Villeneuve’s forthcoming Dune adaptation, Zendaya has spoken more about her part in the film.

In a new interview with InStyle, the Euphoria actor revealed that she doesn’t actually have as much screentime as fans may think. “Dune was incredible,” she says. “I wasn’t in it very much, so when I was watching the trailer, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I called Timothée (Chalamet) and said, ‘Dude! You should be proud.’ It is a big deal to even be a small part of something with such a massive cast. And I love sci-fi stuff too. It’s fun to escape into another world.”

Zendaya will play Chani, a Fremen woman who is the love interest of Timothée Chalamet’s character, the protagonist Paul Atreides. Though her role in Dune may be more minor, she could potentially have a more significant role in the later planned second instalment. 

Additionally, the supervising art director for the movie Tom Brown has spoken in an interview with KIDS FIRST! Film Critics to detail more about what audiences can expect in the Frank Herbert sci-fi epic adaptation.

Speaking about the spacecraft, Brown said: “The great thing about this is that it’s so realistic. It’s not like anything they’ve seen before.

“The attitude that Denis and (production designer) Patrice (Vermette had) was, what would happen if these things could actually fly? Unlike a lot of spaceships that just sort of lift off and fly, these have an incredible realism to them. Even though some of the spaceships are the size of skyscrapers, others are two-seater vehicles.”

Brown also compared the forthcoming franchise to the sprawling Lord of the Rings. “I think what Denis Villeneuve is doing is what’s called a seminal version of this story. I don’t think it will be topped, to be perfectly honest,” Brown said. “The sheer scale of it is going to be daunting. But I do think it’s going to be extremely special. I heard in the paper the other day that they’re looking at the new Lord of the Rings, and I firmly believe that. I think it’s going to be up there with those kinds of films, really.”

Villeneuve recently shared his struggles to finish Dune while in quarantine, and the effect it has had on the final film. “The impact was that it crushed my schedule right now,” he said. “It will be a sprint to finish the movie on time right now, because we were allowed to go back to shoot those elements in a few weeks…it meant also that I have to finish some elements of the movie, like VFX and the editing, being in Montreal as my crew stayed in Los Angeles.” Previous reports from the set highlighted that Villeneuve is intending to “honour everything” though.

Back in April, Chalamet shared some of the first images from the set, showing himself as the iconic protagonist Paul. Rebecca Ferguson stars as Paul’s mother and concubine of Duke Leto Atreides, Lady Jessica, with Oscar Isaac as the Duke and steward of the planet Arrakis. Zendaya plays Chani, who develops a relationship with Paul.

There’s a lot of eyes on Dune, set for release December 18, given the multiple attempts and efforts to adapt it over the years – from David Lynch’s critical and box office bomb to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failure. Revisit the list of disastrous attempts here.