How 'Dune' Director Denis Villeneuve Created The Cast Around Timothée Chalamet

As the central character in the Dune franchise, the casting of Paul Atreides was not only integral to the success of the movie, but according to director Denis Villeneuve, it also played a vital role in putting together the rest of the line-up.

While many films tend to put feelers out to multiple actors in the hope of scoring some big names, Villeneuve had a very different approach with Dune, revealing to Newsweek that he built the cast one piece at a time, starting with Timothée Chalamet.

Ultimately, this approach landed him with some impressive actors on his roster, with the cast of Dune boasting superstar names from Zendaya and Jason Momoa, to Dave Bautista and Rebecca Ferguson.

Speaking to Newsweek, the director said: "At first we started with Timothée and then we chose who Timothée's mother will be. Then it was who Timothée's father will be—Paul Atreides' father...

"We built the family, that family, and from there we expanded and went to explore the characters around this family. It was like building slowly a world, but starting with Paul as the center of everything."

In the film world, often actors become "attached" to a film after conversations with a director or production team, which helps to attract other people to a project.

Villeneuve, however, painstakingly approached people on an individual basis, building the puzzle in the hope of finding as dedicated a Dune fan as he is among his actors.

He continued: "It was a long process. We were approaching one actor at a time, like building slowly, building the casting piece by piece. It was not like throwing all the ideas at once, it was like one after the other. We took our time.

"And the good news is that in the acting community, the book is beloved, and people were very enthusiastic at the idea of participating in this project."

Villeneuve also keenly added that the cast is "pretty close to my dream list I had at the beginning," but difficulties like schedules and other commitments meant he had to work harder to create the perfect team.

Alongside Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson and Oscar Issac plays Paul's parents Lady Jessica and Duke Leto.

Dune and Denis Villeneuve
Timothee Chalamet in "Dune" and Denis Villeneuve at a screening of "Dune" in London. Jeff Spicer/Getty Images/Warner Bros

Other members of House Atreides include weapons master Gurney Halleck played by Josh Brolin; swordmaster Duncan Idaho played by Jason Momoa; Dr Wellington Yueh played by Chang Chen; and the Mentat of the House Atreides, Thufir Hawat, played by Stephen McKinley Henderson.

There is also the House Harkonnen, which includes Stellan Skarsgård as the Baron Harkonnen; Dave Bautista as his nephew Glossu Rabban; and David Dastmalchian as Piter De Vries, the Mentat of the House Harkonnen.

Much of the film takes places on the planet Arrakis, which is home to the Fremen people.

Among the Fremen are Stilgar played by Javier Bardem; Chani played by Zendaya; the judge of the change Dr. Liet-Kynes played by Sharon Duncan-Brewster; and Jamis played by Babs Olusanmokun.

Other supporting yet crucial roles are played by Charlotte Rampling, who plays Gaius Helen Mohiam, the Reverend Mother of the influential Bene Gessrit.

Dune is out in theaters and on HBO Max on October 21.