Timothée Chalamet is in final talks to play Muad'Dib himself, Paul Atreides, in director Denis Villeneuve's big screen take on Frank Herbert's Dune. It further appears the Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 filmmaker is indeed gearing up to begin shooting his next venture in cerebral science-fiction early next year, as was reported only last week. That suggests Villeneuve's Dune may hit theaters as soon as mid-2020, depending on what Dune movie and TV rights holder Legendary feels would be the best launch frame.
Published in 1965, Herbert's Dune novel revolves around the Atreides family as they battle other royal clans for control over Arrakis, a desert planet and natural source for the most valuable item in the galaxy: Spice, a substance that allows for interstellar travel and, if consumed as a drug, offers health benefits (though at the cost of a powerful addiction). The book has spawned multiple sequel and prequel novels over the 53 years since then, in addition to short story collections and comic book adaptations. It was adapted for the big screen by David Lynch in 1984, but Villeneuve has already confirmed his movie won't have any connection to Lynch's Dune.
Deadline is reporting that Chalamet is in final talks to star in Villeneuve's adaptation as Paul Atreides, the protagonist of Herbert's Dune novel and a key figure throughout the author's original book series (especially the sequels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune). THR is further reporting that Legendary is planning to get production started on Dune in early 2019. However, it's not clear yet if Dune will be filming in the same Hungary studio where Villeneuve shot his Blade Runner sequel, as previously reported.
Villeneuve has already confirmed that, if all goes to plan, he will make at least two Dune movies, if not a trilogy or more. In other words, Chalamet stands to gain his first big-budget franchise role by signing on for the project. He has quickly become an indie film darling thanks to his roles in last year's Lady Bird and, more notably, his Oscar-nominated performance in Call Me By Your Name. Chalamet may even find himself back in the Best Actor race again in 2019, thanks to his role in October's memoir Beautiful Boy. Chalamet is also set to reunite with Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig for her Little Women adaptation later this year.
Chalamet's acting career is very much on the up and up, in other words, and a role in Dune should only keep him on that upward trajectory. He's also an exciting pick for Paul Atreides and should help to bring more depth to a character who has sometimes (fairly) been criticized for being a white savior in Herbert's source novel. Villeneuve is as strong a pick as any to adapt the Dune mythology and realize the epic scope of Muad'Dib's journey in that respect, based on his successful deconstruction of the Chosen One trope in Blade Runner 2049 alone.
We will bring you more details on Dune as they become available.