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Dune 2's Crew Fought Against Time To Catch The Spark Of Paul And Chani's Romance

Love, spice, and ticking timers are in the air.

The existence of "Dune: Part Two" continues to be a miracle. One of the most beloved sci-fi novels to ever hit bookshelves, "Dune" had frequently been labeled as unadaptable. In came "Blade Runner 2049" director Denis Villeneuve with a concrete vision for a two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert's magnum opus, transforming the author's words into reality. The first "Dune" debuted in 2021 to critical acclaim, nabbing half a dozen Academy Awards. While it wasn't the most profitable ticket at the box office that year — primarily due to Warner Bros. Discovery sending the film to HBO Max, a sequel was quickly commissioned.

What set Villeneuve's "Dune" apart from other contemporary sci-fi films was how he and his team expertly blended practical and computer-generated effects, creating a visual world unlike any other. With an emphasis on shooting on location, "Dune" emerged as one of the most breathtaking and visually marvelous films of that year. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, which is why the same mentality was brought forward for "Dune: Part Two." 

For the "Dune" sequel, Variety reveals that it was important for Villeneuve to capture everything at the right place and time, including love. In "Dune: Part Two," there are pivotal moments featuring Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and Chani (Zendaya) that are romantic in nature. To make these moments as lucid as possible, Villeneuve wanted to film these scenes in the Jordan desert during sunset. This meant that the cast and crew only had one hour per day to film these romantic moments, fighting against time to get the perfect shot.

Denis Villeneuve says there's no Dune with Paul and Chani's relatonship

While speaking with the outlet, Denis Villeneuve opened up about how Paul and Chani's romance is at the heart of the "Dune" sequel. "I kept saying to my crew, 'The most important thing is that spark, that relationship between both of these characters,'" the director said. "If we don't capture that, if we don't have that onscreen, there's no movie." With Villeneuve so interested in making their love story palpable, it makes sense that he would want to add a striking visual component to their romance as well.

For the so-called "magic hour," Villeneuve wanted to have Paul and Chani's moments to have a golden look, with both of them shimmering in the setting sun. Only having an hour a day to capture the natural light was certainly difficult. Essentially, Zendaya, Chalamet, and the rest of the crew were working against a ticking timer. "You kind of feel like, 'Okay, we got here, but we have maybe an hour to get this,'" Zendaya said about filming the key moments. The actor continued by saying that they revisited the scenes every day, which allowed her and Chalamet to prepare. "Every time we revisited it, we kind of got to sleep on it and think about it, and come up with a new set of ideas."

Fans of "Dune" will be pleased to hear how Villeneuve is focused on Chani and Paul's romance. One of the largest criticisms the first "Dune" received was how it only briefly fleshed out the duo's love story. 

"Dune: Part Two" hits cinemas on November 3 2023.