Stellan Skarsgard cast as a key villain in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune

After more than a year of development, Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious, two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune seems to be kicking into high gear. On Monday, it was revealed that Villeneuve would reunite with his Blade Runner 2049 star Dave Bautista for the sci-fi epic, and today The Hollywood Reporter is here with news of Stellan Skarsgard’s involvement.

Skarsgard, the Swedish actor known by American audiences for his turns in the Thor and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises, will play chief antagonist Baron Harkonnen. Harkonnen, whose family previously ruled the desert planet upon which the story unfolds, carries a deep grudge for the family of Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides. Bautista, it’s been revealed, will play Harkonnen’s sadistic nephew, “Beast” Rabban, which should be a nice change of pace with Bautista perhaps too often playing the grunt with a heart of gold.

It’s an attack from House Harkonnen that forces Paul to escape into the desert with his mother, Lady Jessica, who will be played by Rebecca Ferguson. There, Paul uses his enhanced mental abilities to rule over the wasteland’s nomadic tribes, eventually transforming them into an army to overthrow the empire.

Villeneuve co-wrote the script with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts. Shooting will commence this spring in Budapest and Jordan.

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