Dune cast Charlotte Rampling

Denis Villeneuve continues to add respected and talented actors to his ever-growing Dune cast. The latest: arthouse cinema royalty Charlotte Rampling. Rampling will play Reverend Mother Mohiam in the sci-fi epic that also stars Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista and Stellan Skarsgard. Adapted from the massive novel by Frank Herbert, Villeneuve’s Dune is likely to be a huge production, and follows in the footsteps of David Lynch’s much-maligned attempt to adapt the novel in 1984.

THR broke the news about Rampling joining the Dune cast. Rampling is playing Reverend Mother Mohiam, “the emperor’s truthsayer, a person who can divine intentions, suss out lies and manipulate people’s emotional states.” Here’s some more detail about the character, per SparkNotes:

Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam – Spiritual leader of the Bene Gesserit. Mohiam is old and serves as the emperor’s truthsayer, a person who can tell the emperor whether someone is lying. Before he leaves for Arrakis, Mohiam puts Paul through a severe test of endurance.

Siân Phillips played the character in David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation. Rampling was recently seen in the somewhat trashy Red Sparrow, but she’s also had more esteemed parts in 45 YearsThe VerdictSwimming Pool and more. She’ll no doubt bring something memorable to the part.

Dune is “set in the distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which noble houses, in control of individual planets,” and “tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose noble family accepts the stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis. As this planet is the only source of the oracular spice melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe, control of Arrakis is a coveted—and dangerous—undertaking. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the factions of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its spice.”

Timothee Chalamet is playing protagonist Paul Atreides; Stellan Skarsgard will portray villain Baron Vladimir Harkonnen; Rebecca Ferguson is Lady Jessica  Paul Atreides mother; and Dave Bautista takes on the role of Beast Rabban, Baron Harkonnen’s nephew. Herbert’s Dune has a huge roster of characters, so it’s likely we’ll be learning about a lot more casting soon.

To cover Herbert’s novel, Villeneuve apparently plans to break the story up into at least two movies. As for how he’ll approach the material, Villeneuve has said: “The ambition is to do the Star Wars movie I never saw. In a way, it’s Star Wars for adults.”

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