After working together on Blade Runner 2049, wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista is teaming back up with Denis Villeneuve, having signed on for a key role in the director’s new Dune movie, Collider has confirmed.
Based on the acclaimed sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert, Dune will star Timothée Chamalet as young hero Paul Atreides, whose family assumes control of the desert planet Arrakis only to be betrayed, forcing him to lead a rebellion to overthrow the new emperor. The complex story is said to explore themes of politics, religion, and man’s relationship with nature.
Rebecca Ferguson will play Chalamet’s mother, Lady Jessica, while Bautista will be playing “Beast” Rabban, the sadistic nephew of a baron who oversees Arrakis.
Villeneuve co-wrote the Dune script with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts, and he’s also producing the film alongside Mary Parent and Cale Boyter. Brian Herbert and Kim Herbert will executive produce along with Byron Merritt and Thomas Tull. Kevin J. Anderson will serve as a creative consultant on the project, which will begin production in the coming months.
Bautista found himself with an opening in his schedule after Marvel put Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on hold following James Gunn‘s Twitter controversy. He’s poised for another busy year, as not only does he star opposite Kumail Nanjiani in 20th Century Fox’s action-comedy Stuber, but he’ll also return as Drax in Avengers: Endgame, which promises to be one of the highest-grossing films of 2019. Bautista is represented by CAA, and his casting was first reported by Variety.
While Herbert’s novel has a strong fanbase, Villeneuve’s last attempt at big-budget sci-fi, Blade Runner 2049, did not fare well at the box office. If the new Dune flops, you have to wonder which studio will back another expensive sci-fi movie based on older IP, no matter how stunning it looks. Of course, if that means more movies like Arrival and Sicario, then maybe it won’t be the worst thing. Stay tuned.