Any director in the world would think that getting an A-listed actor into your movie is a fine choice, the quality is assured and the added popularity of the actor is a great marketing boost as well. But let’s say you are Denis Villeneuve, director of Dune, who has more than a handful of A-listers for the movie- a dilemma starts.
How exactly do you accommodate enough screen time for the ensemble cast that you have carefully selected for each role? Villeneuve has the answer to that, and it also answers a lot of questions about Zendaya’s role in the movie- which many saw to be less than adequate for an actor with a huge fan following.
Denis Villeneuve Assures Dune Will Accommodate All Characters
Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel has come a long way from being adapted by David Lynch years after its release to being graced with a big-budget adaptation in the modern age. There’s no other candidate that could’ve done it as well as Denis Villeneuve considering his sci-fi movies are of the highest level as well.
Dune was released in 2021 to an audience expecting to see a movie that could finally do the novel some justice (although many also preferred that Alejandro Jodorowsky be the director to bring it to life). The ensuing reception was nothing short of amazing, and with a successful box-office run, the movie was setting sail for a successful part two release in 2023.
However, there’s a huge problem, the novel has an extensive list of important characters- how will it possibly accommodate screen time for all of them? Zendaya’s role as Chani comes into question here, who according to calculations only has a mere seven minutes of screen time.
The solution, according to director Denis Villeneuve is quite simple- just break the movie into two parts. During an interview with the LA Times in 2021, the Incendies director explained how he hopes to bring all characters the screen time they deserve-
There are some characters that are less developed that I’m keeping for the second film — that’s the way I found the equilibrium.”
“In the second one, I will have time to develop some characters that were left aside a little bit. That’s the theory. I hope it will work.”
Fans will be quite optimistic about a worthy sequel to Dune, which could be quite hard considering the first part was a work of art on its own.
Zendaya’s Role In Dune Was Limited From The Start
For fans who are quite understandably angry at the fact that the seven-minute screentime for their favorite is actually true, calm down. She’s not the only character in the movie, besides there are many other characters who only got a sliver of screen time as well!
But fans need not worry now, at least after what Denis Villeneuve said considering the promised prominence of the role of characters in the second part of Dune. Regardless, even Zendaya made sure to let her fans know that her role in the movie was quite minimal, at least for the first part.
During an interview with Empire in August 2021, the Spider-Man: Homecoming star said this about her part in the sci-fi movie-
“My part is very, very small in this movie.”
She further explains-
“[Denis and I] had a little discussion about who Chani is and the strength she possesses. She’s a fighter; that’s what her people are. I only really had a few days with her, so I kind of scratched the surface, but it was so much fun figuring her out.”
That’s one way to go. We’ll surely be seeing more of Zendaya in the second part of Dune, she’s the love interest of Timothee Chalamet’s character in the novel after all.
Dune: Part Two is scheduled for a release in the United States on 3 November 2023.