“It was like building slowly a world”: Dune Cast Would’ve Been a Lot Different if Timothée Chalamet Wouldn’t Have Been Cast as Paul Atreides

Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides was extremely pivotal to Denis Villeneuve creating the world of Dune.

“It was like building slowly a world”: Dune Cast Would’ve Been a Lot Different if Timothée Chalamet Wouldn’t Have Been Cast as Paul Atreides


  • Timothée Chalamet was Denis Villeneuve’s first and only choice to play Paul Atreides by the director’s own confession.
  • Despite facing criticisms about casting the actor, Villeneuve believed that he possessed the necessary attributes that were required for the role.
  • The director also revealed that the entire cast of characters in the film were chosen and built around Paul Atreides.
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Timothée Chalamet’s journey in Hollywood has been an inspiring one. From making his name as a young star in independent films to bagging huge mainstream projects like Dune and Wonka, the actor has proved that he has the personality and talent to juggle both worlds with aplomb.

Timothee chalamet
Timothée Chalamet in Dune

With the recently released Dune 2, Chalamet has further showcased his growth as an actor through the evolution of his character, Paul Atreides. But the Oscar nominee’s casting was criticized when he was initially signed on for the role by Denis Villeneuve. The director, though, was steadfast in his reasoning behind the decision and elaborated on why he was insistent on only Chalamet playing the role.

The Dune Ensemble Was Created Around Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides

It is difficult to imagine anyone other than Timothée Chalamet portraying the central character Paul Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune franchise. While the actor amply proved his worth in both films, his casting was severely criticized when Villeneuve signed him on for the role in 2018.

A still from the sets of Dune

With films like Call me By Your Name, A Beautiful Boy, and Little Women under his belt, fans believed that the actor was an ideal fit for off-beat dramas and romances that perfectly encapsulated his personality. His entry into Dune as Paul Atreides signaled a completely different kind of aesthetic.

While many viewers felt that the Interstellar actor’s physicality and looks suited the initial version of the character who is a young boy learning the ways of the world, the general consensus was that Chalamet would not be able to convey Paul Atreides’ startling evolution as a powerful leader.

But Villeneuve believed otherwise. The Blade Runner 2049 director stated that the young star possessed a powerful personality that would brilliantly translate on to the big screen as his character arc developed. In an interview with USA Today, the filmmaker revealed why the Wonka star was the only choice for the role.


“It was like we had witnessed the birth of Beatlemania. It was crazy. Timothée has that kind of charismatic power. And I needed that for the audience to believe this young man will be able to raise and lead an army, and then lead a whole planet.”

The Sicario director was so convinced with his decision to cast the Oscar nominee that he worked the whole script of Dune around Chalamet and his character. Speaking to Newsweek about how he painstakingly created this complex world and the rest of the players in it, he said,

“At first we started with Timothée and then we chose who Timothée’s mother will be. Then it was who Timothée’s father will be — Paul Atreides’ father … We built the family, that family, and from there we expanded and went to explore the characters around this family. It was like building slowly a world, but starting with Paul as the center of everything.”

There is something to be said about a strong gut instinct, and Villeneuve proved that his instincts were spot on regarding Chalamet, who is now well on his way to becoming a huge Hollywood superstar.

Timothée Chalamet On How He Brought Willy Wonka To Life

Apart from tackling a complex character in Dune, Timothée Chalamet reprised one of the iconic roles in cinema when he took on Roald Dahl’s famed chocolatier in Wonka. The character has earlier been played by actors Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp.

Timothée Chalamet in Wonka

Wonka, directed by Paul King, saw the actor playing the younger version of the entrepreneur that traced the beginnings of Willy Wonka, his journey to becoming an icon in his field, and his meeting and early adventures with the famous Oompa-Loompas.

The film received lots of acclaim, while the Little Women star’s performance was also lauded by audiences and critics alike. Chalamet, in an interview with NME, looked back on the references he had for the character and praised both Wilder and Depp for their brilliant performances as Willy Wonka in their films.

Speaking of Depp’s quirky version in the Tim Burton directorial, the celebrity recalled being completely enamored with the superstar’s performance which made a deep impact on him as a young boy.


“[Charlie and the Chocolate Factory] came out when I was about 10 or 11 years old. And I just thought it was very bold.”

Chalamet though, revealed that he did not consult Depp or take any advice from him about how to approach the character. Instead, he chose to do his own research into the role. The results are there for all to see as the talented actor’s portrayal of the character is being hailed as fresh and new.

Dune is streaming on Netflix, while Wonka is available on Max.


Written by Sharanya Sankar

Articles Published: 1117

Sharanya Sankar, Writer for Fandomwire
Having completed her Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, Sharanya has a solid foundation in writing which is also one of her passions. She has worked previously with Book My show for a couple of years where she gained experience reviewing films and writing feature articles. Sharanya’s articles on film and pop culture have also been published on Film Companion, a popular film-based website. Apart from movies and pop culture, her interests include music and sports. She has contributed over 650 articles to Fandomwire so far.