oscar isaac resistance

Just when you thought the cast of Denis Villeneuve‘s adaption of Dune couldn’t get any better, Oscar Isaac joins the ensemble. The dashing actor is leaping from one galaxy far, far away to another, taking off Poe Dameron’s X-Wing jumpsuit and slipping into the regal robes of Duke Leto Atreides, an essential character in Frank Herbert’s sweeping science fiction saga.

Variety has the news of Isaac joining the film and, well, I’m just going to be blunt: this is perfect casting. Duke Leto is a wise, fair ruler, a seasoned commander, and a good father and the initial heartbeat of Dune. While the lead character is young Paul Atreides (set to be played by Timothee Chalamet), his offspring is very much his father’s son, and his shadow lingers over the entire story. It’s easy to imagine Isaac, an actor capable of extraordinary range, embodying this part to a T.

With Rebecca Ferguson playing Lady Jessica, Leto’s wife and Paul’s mother, this means the core Atreides family is officially assembled. The story follows House Atreides as they’re given control of Arrakis, a desert planet that rich with the “spice” that essentially keeps the galactic economy running. Treachery, war, and rebellion follows. It’s magnificent and dense and in desperate need of a great adaptation.

Of course, this won’t be the first Duke Leto we’ve seen on the screen. Jürgen Prochnow played the role in David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation, a fascinating misfire that needs to be seen to be believed, and William Hurt took on the character in the loyal-to-a-fault TV miniseries adaptation from 2000. They were both solid in the role, but Isaac is much closer (albeit a bit younger) to how I pictured the character when reading the novel.

Isaac joins a cast that includes not only Chalamet and Ferguson, but Stellan Skarsgard (playing the vile Baron Harkonnen), Dave Bautista (playing Glossu “Beast” Rabban, the vicious nephew of Baron Harkonnen), and Charlotte Rampling (playing Reverend Mother Mohiam, a character whose importance is hard to sum up and is better left for another article). That is one hell of a cast.

Denis Villeneuve is fresh off Blade Runner 2049, a film that was terrific but also a financial disappointment, so I’m glad to see studios continuing to have faith in him. After all, directing Arrival, Sicario, Enemy, and Prisoners probably buys you a ton of goodwill. And as this cast proves, talented actors are lining up to work with him.

Dune is set to begin filming this year. No release date has been set. If Villeneuve has his way, this will be a two-film adaptation, with each movie covering half of Hebert’s massive novel.

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