In a brilliant bit of casting, Dune has found its Reverend Mother Mohiam in the form of Oscar-nominated actor, Charlotte Rampling. For those familiar with the Frank Herbert sci-fi classic that may be unfamiliar with Rampling’s award-worthy role in 45 Years, it’s probably enough to see her image at the top of this article to realize how perfect the French actor will be for the role of the Emperor’s Truthsayer. Legendary Pictures will produce Dune with famed director Denis Villeneuve at the helm.
The role of the Reverend Mother is a key one in Dune, as the character is the head of the matriarchal Bene Gesserit religion which tests young protagonist Paul Atreides to see if he may be their long-sought Kwisatz Haderach, the messiah figure her order seeks to breed and control. The mantra that has become famous from the Herbert novels and the multiple adaptations includes the recognizable, “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.” Siân Phillips played the Reverend Mother in the 1984 film, whereas Zuzana Geislerová played the role in the 2000 miniseries on the Sci Fi Channel.
The announcement of Rampling’s casting now sits alongside other exciting additions such as Dave Bautista, Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, and Stellan Skarsgard. Dune has built plenty of buzz with its cast news even though filming has not begun on the film. Speculation is that Villeneuve will wisely choose to break the daunting first novel into several parts to honor the epic nature of the story, something which the Lynch film famously failed to do and which Jodorowsky sadly was never able to attempt.
Dune tells the story of warring nobility on a desert planet known as Arrakis whose sole export is a rare spice that gives its users greatly enhanced mental powers, to oversimplify it. The project will begin filming on location in Budapest and Jordan this spring, according to THR. The release date is estimated to be sometime in 2021.
Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). He co-hosts our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast and voices much of our video content.