Various news outlets are reporting that Oscar Isaac is now attached to Denis Villeneuve’s Dune project.
I was so thrilled when I saw it because I instantly thought: Duncan Idaho. As it turns out, the role he’s up for is Duke Leto. I had mixed feelings about this at first. He’s a quality actor but is he old enough to play the Duke? I did some digging and it turns out Jurgen Prochnow was 42 when he played the Duke in Lynch’s film; Isaac is 39 so there’s not much in it age-wise. He’s got a similar look to Timothèe Chalamet and I think he could just about get away with playing his father if they age him up a bit. A beard would help.
Guatemala-born Isaac has enjoyed a meteoric rise from humble beginnings to the Julliard School, a Golden Globe Award and now parts in two massive movie franchises. I think he had real depth and was great to watch in Ex Machina and he could bring something interesting to the ill-fated character of Leto.
This is yet another great addition to the cast and yet more evidence that this project is being taken very seriously. One of my favourite aspects of Lynch’s film was the casting and it’s great to see this going the same way.
The casting of Duncan Idaho is a really important one for me. If not for this film, then for the future if this grows into a larger franchise. Duncan is such a key part of the rest of the story beyond Herbert’s first novel that it’s so vital that they get it right. I saw Oscar Isaac’s name and instantly thought of Duncan. He’s got the looks and charm; all the ladies love Duncan. Then I started to think about his Star Wars character, Poe Dameron, and my enthusiasm waned a little. Duncan’s quite a different character even though they share some obvious similarities – intense loyalty, mastery of their respective fields etc. and I wouldn’t have liked to see a ‘maverick flyboy’ version of Duncan. Birmingham’s own Edward Atterton (the guy who Mal has a swordfight with in Firefly) put in a very good interpretation of Duncan in the 2003 mini-series, now that I think more of it.
I still love Chiwetel Ejiofor for Duncan. He’s a couple of years older than Oscar Isaac though and that wouldn’t quite fit. I hope there’s a part for him somewhere. The casting director, Francine Maisler, occupied the same position on 12 Years a Slave, so there’s some history and connection there.
Thanks for reading. You can see my other casting reactions here. The rest of the line-up should start to fill out quite soon as filming is scheduled to start any time.