Writer’s Note: I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of a virtual round-table interview with other college publications and the stars of the film, Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya. Here’s how it went…
DUNE. That’s the latest tea I have at the moment. When I initially heard of the movie, my first thought was, “didn’t that come out ages ago?” Yes, as it turns out, it did in 1984. BUT Warner Bros just released a remake of it. “Dune” is going to be an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel of the same name.
“You have such a dream team of people that you could work with,” Zendaya said.
Dune’s impressive team is composed of quite a few successful actors, such as, Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Rebbecca Fergason, Oscar Isaac, Dave Bautista – the list goes on.
“Dune” is set thousands of years in the future and tells the powerful story of Paul Atreides (Chalamet), a young teenager who struggles with the power of the birthright set ahead of him. Paul and his family travel to Arrakis, a dangerous desert planet home to the Fremen who are a native human civilization. Chani (Zendaya), a Fremen native, plays a huge role in guiding Paul along his journey.
In Arrakis, there is a massive war for control of the Spice, a high value natural resource that is essential for success and responsible for the existence of humankind. The Spice is a rarity. Not only due to it being native to a desert planet, but because of its key role in space travel and knowledge. In the dunes, there are many dangerous liabilities. For example, sandstorms, unbearable heat and creatures known as “sandworms” that will kill anything in their path.
Now, a lot of people may think that this is just another sci-fi film, but looking past the fact that there are deadly creatures on a faraway planet, the characters embark on their own emotional journeys as well. Just like many of us are today; we are in a place where we have to make plenty of major life decisions in our 20s.
“I think the character we meet at the beginning of the movie is a young man who is struggling with identity, struggling with the way he is, how he is in the world, who he is, not only to himself but to his loved ones, to the people of the planet, Caladan and then planet Arrakis, I think those are things that all of us struggle with when we are at that age and we don’t know who we are.”
– Timothtée Chalamet
“It’s all about the human emotion and that experience,” Zendaya said. Which is precisely what Denis Villenueve created, as the director. From the casting, the directions of the scene and the small emotional side story lines, the film explores parts of human nature and connection that is often missed in sci-fi movies.
The film makes connections between the tragedy of finding yourself and the pressures of the world.
“In a very dramatic way. This is a coming of age story you know,” Zendaya said, “Whether it be a bigger metaphor for something we all kinda experience or which is just what it’s like to grow up and feel all these pressures and these ideas of these things you should be or might have to be for other people. And what that feels like to try to fit into those shoes and feels like you can’t fit yet.”
Zendaya and Chalamet play roles of individuals from literally two different planets but have had to grow up quickly in life-threatening events. But through it all, their characters fight to survive.
That is what exactly this film portrays as a connection to the modern generation.
“If young people can relate to what Chani or Paul are going through at the center of it and can also [absorb] the themes that sometimes fly above my head, then we really succeeded,” Chalamet said.
This isn’t the whole story, the title screen reads “DUNE: Part One” meaning this is only part of the entire story.
“Dune” will be released on HBO Max Oct. 21 and in theatres Oct. 22.