‘Dune’ Premieres in Venice: Denis Villeneuve Urges Audiences to Watch Movie in Theaters, Timothée Chalamet Hopes for Sequel

Courtesy Venice Film Festival

Director Denis Villeneuve hopes that audiences will watch “Dune” in movie theaters.

“At the end of the day these are difficult times for everybody, safety first, if the audience feels comfortable I encourage them to watch it on the big screen,” Villeneuve said at a press conference on Friday at the Venice Film Festival.

“It has been dreamed, designed, shot, thinking IMAX,” Villeneuve said. “When you watch this movie on the big screen, it is a physical experience. We tried to design it to be as immersive as possible.”

In December, Warner Bros. — the studio that is releasing “Dune,” which Legendary produced and financed — announced that its entire movie slate for 2021 would premiere both in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day, as a result of COVID-19 shuttering movie theaters.

At Venice, “Dune” will be playing on the big screen at its world premiere on Friday night at the historic Sala Grand theater.

Timothée Chalamet stars in the sci-fi tentpole as Paul Atreides, the character based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel. He said that he’d watched Kyle MacLachlan’s performance in the 1984 original  “Dune” two months before shooting, but tried to make the character his own.

“I have huge respect for Kyle’s performance and I love that version,” Chalamet said. “I was fortunate enough to work on other projects that have prior iterations with great actors in them. But when Denis Villeneuve asks you to do a movie and do his version of the movie, you forget all that.”

The actor — who is currently filming a movie about Willy Wonka in his earlier years — said that making “Dune” was “the honor of a lifetime.” And he said that wanted to continue to tell the story in a sequel. “I hope we can do a second one,” he said. “That would be a dream.”

Chalamet said that he practiced his “sandwalk” in the film with choreographer Benjamin Millepied, but he declined to re-enact his moves for the press. “Hopefully we’ll see TikToks of people doing the same stuff.”

Villeneuve also said that though the Herbert’s novel was written in the 1960s, it was prescient of the present day, speaking as it does about the blending of religion and politics, the danger of messianic figures, the impact of colonialism and the ongoing problem the world has today with the environment.

The environment was also touched upon by another of the film’s stars, Javier Bardem, who called for a change of global lifestyles, “either that, or a disaster.”

Villeneuve spoke about collaborating on the score by Hans Zimmer, achieved when the world was in lockdown with musicians in their respective bubbles. “We decided right from the start that it should be a feminine score to enhance the female presence that we felt was very important and fundamental in the book,” Villeneuve said.

Elsewhere in the press conference, Josh Brolin joked that he represented the “power of the testicles” in the film. “I’m here to protect the dude, that’s all I know,” Brolin said.

“Dune” will be released theatrically and on HBO Max in the United States on Oct. 22.