Critics Makes Tall Claims About Austin Butler in Dune 2, Calls His Villain as Good as Heath Ledger’s Joker

Austin Butler is a ruthless sociopath in Denis Villeneuve's epic sequel

Critics Makes Tall Claims About Austin Butler in Dune 2, Calls His Villain as Good as Heath Ledger's Joker


  • Austin Butler plays the role of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune: Part Two, a sociopathic villain to Timothée Chalamet's Paul Atreides.
  • Critics are more than impressed by his performance in the film and compared him to other iconic villains like the Joker and Anton Chigurh.
  • Butler earlier revealed that he toned down his Method acting from Elvis when it came to his Dune 2 role.
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Austin Butler plays the sociopathic villain Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune: Part Two. His bald look in the film took everyone by surprise, and film lovers expected nothing short of an amazing performance from the Elvis actor. The film’s early reviews called it the definitive sci-fi epic of the new generation. After its limited IMAX release on Sunday, critics are now comparing Butler’s Feyd-Rautha to Heath Ledger’s Joker and Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh.

Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune: Part Two
Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune: Part Two

Earlier, Butler spent almost 3 years researching and preparing for his role as Elvis Presley in Baz Lahrman’s biopic Elvis. Butler revealed that he had toned down his method acting for Dune 2 since he deemed it unhealthy for his friends and family.

Austin Butler Receives High Praise From Critics For His Dune 2 Role

Austin Butler and Timothée Chalamet in Dune: Part Two
Austin Butler and Timothée Chalamet in Dune: Part Two

Austin Butler was one of the new additions to the cast in the Dune sequel, alongside Florence Pugh, Lea Seydoux, and Christopher Walken. Butler secured the villain role in the film, playing Feyd-Rautha of House Harkonnen, who is the nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and the potential successor to the Harkonnen throne. He will serve as the primary antagonist to Timothée Chalamet‘s Paul Atreides in this adaptation.


Denis Villeneuve‘s epic sequel impressed critics and audiences during the early screenings as well as its IMAX screenings on Sunday. Critics pointed out that the Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood actor gave one of the standout performances in the film. There were comparisons between Butler’s villain and the iconic villains of all time — The Joker in The Dark Knight, played by Heath Ledger, and Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, played by Butler’s Dune 2 co-star Javier Bardem.

The Playlist’s Gregory Ellwood shared that Austin Butler gave another transformative performance after his Oscar-nominated role in Elvis. Ellwood opined that it was just not Butler’s shaved head and eyebrows that were impressive, but his performance was a complete 180 from anything he did previously. Ellwood also predicted that the Zoey 101 actor will be in the mix for Best Supporting Actor next year.


Empire‘s review also had just great things to say about the actor. The magazine shared that Butler was the MVP among the new actors in this sequel and called his performance “a hairless embodiment of utter inhumanity.” Butler was also highly praised in the film’s review by BBC Culture. The outlet wrote:

“In a cast stacked with an absurd number of contemporary cinema’s finest actors, it’s Butler who steals the show as a vampiric sadist with some of the strutting rock’n’roll sexiness that the actor had in Elvis.”

Dune: Part Two has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97% from 147 reviews, as of writing. The website consensus for the film shared that it was visually thrilling and narratively epic. Griffin Schiller of FilmSpeak called the film Denis Villenueve’s magnum opus and “the definitive sci-fi epic of a generation.”

Austin Butler Toned Down His Method Acting For Dune: Part Two

Austin Butler made the conscious decision to tone down his Method acting in Dune 2
Austin Butler made the conscious decision to tone down his Method acting in Dune 2

During an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Austin Butler shared that while playing the legendary singer in Elvis, he only thought about the character day and night for three years. However, he didn’t want to repeat the same mistake with his method acting in Dune 2. He shared that since his character was a sociopathic villain, it would have been very unhealthy for his friends and family if he stayed in character all day long. Butler shared with the Los Angeles Times:


“I’ve definitely in the past, with ‘Elvis,’ explored living within that world for three years and that being the only thing that I think about day and night. With Feyd, I knew that that would be unhealthy for my family and friends.”

Villeneuve, who also appeared in the interview alongside Butler, shared that he was only 25-30% in character when he was off-camera. It was really helpful for the director and crew as Villeneuve jokingly mentioned that it made sure that Butler did not “kill anybody on set.” Dune: Part Two saw a limited release in IMAX theaters on Sunday, while the worldwide release of the film is scheduled for March 1, 2024.


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1108

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.