Denis Villeneuve’s Dune remake has been pretty slow to get going. Adapting Dune is one of those cinematic white whales, one that infamously devoured years of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s life only never to actually go before cameras, and a 1984 film that actually did get filmed but which director David Lynch ultimately “Alan Smitheed” himself from. But what Legendary is planning for the Dune franchise might actually stand a chance, with Villeneuve possibly planning to split that first book into two movies or more, rather than make the usual mistake of trying to pretend it has a complete story that can be told in three hours. So far the cast includes Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, but other than those two, there hasn’t been much to report on the casting front.
Until now. Dave Bautista is becoming what Jodorowsky would refer to as a “spiritual warrior” if he were still embroiled in making Dune. Bautista will play Glossu Rabban Harkonnen (via Variety), known by the charming name of “Beast.” Ol’ “Beast” Rabban is the nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the corpulent, oozing, impossibly wealthy villain and noted sci-fi Donald Trump lookalike. Think of “Beast” as the “Eric” of the Harkonnen family sewer: a patricidal brute and innefective governor and businessman. Apples and trees, kids. Or spice and worms. Whatever.
Bautista will be the third actor to take up the role. Rabban was played by Paul L. Smith (who also played Bluto to absolute perfection in Robert Altman’s gleefully bizarre Popeye) in the 1984 David Lynch film and by Laszlo I. Kisch in the better than expected made for TV version. If Villeneuve indeed takes several movies to tell the story of the first book, Bautista may get to dig into the part in a way others didn’t. Bautista previously worked with Villeneuve on Blade Runner 2049.
Bautista has time in his sci-fi franchise schedule at the moment. There’s still no word on when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will start filming as Disney continues to search for a replacement, and based on some of his comments, the actor probably isn’t in much of a hurry to put the blue body paint on for his employer. Don’t be surprised if Disney finds a way to actually off Bautista’s Drax somewhere in the course of Avengers: Endgame.
There is no release date set for Dune because lol, of course there isn’t. This movie isn’t anywhere near filming, and it will likely take a solid two years from the start of production until release. 2021 is an optimistic projection. But the sleeper must awaken eventually, so…you can read more about the project here.