Chang Chen has joined the cast of Denis Villeneuve's Dune movie reboot. The upcoming adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel has managed to assemble quite the impressively star-studded cast in recent months. It's no surprise either, seeing as Villeneuve is coming off the back to back success of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, making him one of the eminent names in sci-fi filmmaking right now (as far as critical acclaim goes).
Herbert's 1965 novel, which Villeneuve has described as "Star Wars for adults", features a whole lot of characters, including the members of the royal families (Houses Atreides and Harkonnen) that battle one another for control of the desert planet Arrakis and its extremely lucrative resource: a powerful substance with multiple uses known as Melange or "The Spice". By now, the new Dune adaptation has found most of its main players, including Timothée Chalamet as protagonist Paul Atreides and Oscar Isaac as his father and the head of his House, Duke Leto Atreides. As such, Villeneuve is currently in the midst of filling the movie's numerous supporting roles.
According to THR, Chen has been cast to play Dr. Wellington Yueh, who serves as a physician to House Atreides in Dune. Yueh himself is a graduate of the Suk School, an establishment whose doctors are known for being the best and most trustworthy medical practitioners in the universe. As a result, Leto Atreides considers Dr. Yueh one of his most reliable advisors, along with people like the sword-master Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa in Villeneuve's film).
Chen is probably still best known for his breakout role as Lo or "Dark Cloud" in Ang Lee's Oscar-winning martial arts drama, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Nevertheless, in the nearly two decades since that film hit theaters, Chen has continued to work with celebrated director Wong Kar-wai on films like 2046 and The Grandmaster, in addition to his roles in acclaimed titles like The Assassin and, most recently, Mr. Long. As mentioned earlier, he's the latest noteworthy addition to the Dune cast, which also includes names like Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, Josh Brolin, and Stellan Skarsgård in leading roles (in addition to Chalamet, Isaac, and Momoa).
Production on Dune is expected to get underway as soon as April or May (ahead of its November 2020 release date), so casting should wrap up within three to four weeks or so. Villeneuve's reboot is already one of next year's most anticipated releases based on its ensemble alone, to say nothing of its director or the source material. That's no doubt welcome news for Legendary, which acquired the Dune movie and TV rights back in November 2016 and sees this new adaptation as the potential beginning of a profitable multimedia franchise. With Villeneuve leading the charge, there's a strong chance they'll get their wish, too.
- Dune release date: Nov 20, 2020