The best heroes always have iconic villains. We can agree on that, right? Where would the “Star Wars” franchise be without The Emperor, and Darth Vader? The same can absolutely be said a seminal piece of science fiction literature that paved the way for the cosmic conflict genre- Frank Herbert‘s “Dune.” If you’ve never read the novel, now is the time.
As you know, we’ve been looking forward to a new film adaptation of “Dune” from visionary filmmaker Denis Villeneuve. By all reports, this movie will be tackling the first half of the first novel. There is a lot of information in that first half to get to audiences, so we can understand the choice to break it up.
But- how much of Stellan Sarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen are we gonna get in this first half?
The answer, while somewhat disappointing, makes perfect sense. While chatting with The Daily Beast, Stellan Skarsgård offered a little bit of insight into his experience with filming. We’ve known for sometime that the fat makeup on Baron Harkonnen was extensive. Reports early on indicating something like 8 hours in the chair for the transformation.
The thing about it, and why I’m looking forward to this film as well, is because it’s Denis Villeneuve. Whatever he does, he creates an atmosphere that is dense, that you can touch, and you’re just sucked into it. You’re never bored—even if he does long, slow takes. The atmosphere builds up, and you’re in his universe. I think it will be the same with this one. He’s lovely to work with, and a beautiful man. I did eight or ten days on the movie, so my character doesn’t show up for too much, but his presence will be felt. He’s such a frightening presence where even if he doesn’t say anything, I think you’ll be afraid of him. And I’m extremely fat. I had eight hours in the makeup chair every day. And in some scenes, I look very tall because I levitate. You’re going to have a lot of fun with it.
There were only two additional glimpses of Baron Harkonnen in the “Dune” trailer. We understand this choice, because how often do we complain about a trailer showing pretty much everything? Leaving nothing to the imagination or a surprise while watching the film? This shot of The Baron addressing his troops sort of says it all. A larger-than-life figure on Giedi Prime, the head of House Harkonnen looms over all with a dread purpose.
And of course, this shot of The Baron rising from an oil bath.
One of the best looks at the character comes from the official “Dune” toys, which have already been released. You can read about those here.
So, the very idea that The Baron will be frightening and truly scary, is very exciting.
Starring Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Rebecca Ferguson as the Lady Jessica, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, Zendaya as Chani, Javier Bardem as Stilgar, Stellan Sarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Dave Bautista as the Beast Raban, David Dastmalchian as Piter deVrys, Chen Chang as Doctor Wellington Yueh, Stephen McKinley Henderson as Thufir Hawat, Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet-Kynes, and Charlotte Rampling as Gaius Helen Mohiam.
Hans Zimmer is composing the score. Check out Zimmer’s cover of Pink Floyd’s “Eclipse” from the trailer here.
“Dune” is currently slated to hit HBO Max (and select theaters) on October 1st, 2021.