It’s been a while since we had any updates about casting but this popped up today and I thought it was worth a post. I held off on the additional Sardaukar cast announcements that were made but I’ll give those people a shout out at the end.
So, the iMDB listing for next year’s Dune, directed by Denos Villeneuve was updated today. The two cast members who didn’t have roles allocated by the site suddenly got them.
As predicted, Stephen McKinley-Henderson is down to play the role of the mentat master of assassins, Thufir Hawat. In a slightly more unexpected move, Sharon Duncan-Brewster is listed as the Shadout Mapes. When her name was announced, I speculated here that she would most likely be a Fremen or a Bene Gesserit so it looks like I guessed right.
This addition to iMDB would seem to end the speculation that she might be taking on the role of Liet Kynes which has set the Internet alight over the past few weeks. We’ve been subjected to a tsunami of posts decrying this potential gender swap and calling foul on what was a rumour and nothing more. Personally, I can’t see what all the fuss was about. The character of Kynes could just as easily been played by a woman and been Chani’s mother rather than her father. In terms of the actual narrative, Liet Kynes is a fairly interchangeable character and it doesn’t really make that much difference. I’m more in favour of getting the right people for the right roles. It’s important to remember that this project is being helmed by a man who is a MASSIVE fan of the book so I think it’s safe to assume that the decision-making process will be grounded in that.
As for those people who clog up the Internet with their moaning about gender swaps, two words should be enough to win any arguments: Ellen Ripley. The character of Ripley was written as a man in the original ‘Star Beast’ script that became Alien. Because of a change around by Ridley Scott, one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history (8th best according to the AFI) was born. I’ll add Katee Sackhoff’s casting as Starbuck in the 2004 Battlestar Galactica reboot to the list too as an inspired move that added so much to that particular story.
If I have any reservations about this casting, it’s that Mapes in the book is a wizened old crone and Sharon Duncan-Brewster is a million miles from that. Mapes seems to be going in the same direction as Spiderman’s Aunt May has over the past few incarnations. She’s a quality actor, though, so I’m sure it’ll be good.
All this does mean that we still have no actor attached to the character of Liet Kynes. I doubt very much if I’ll get my first choice from here but there’s still hope. Still no word on Shaddam IV, Irulan or Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen either, assuming they will even appear in this first film – it’s not a certainty given the way the narrative plays out in the novel. I can’t believe we won’t see Feyd, though. We’re also missing Count Fenring. Lots to uncover as time moves on.
What we do have is a few more names to add to the list. Here are a few welcomes to the latest people to join the cast…
Peter Sztojanov Jr. (Sardaukar Soldier)
You might have seen him as a soldier in 2014’s TV show, Tyrant, and he’s acted alongside Timothee Chalamet in The King)
Charlie Rawes (First Trooper)
English actor who played a mercenary in 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I wonder who’s side he’s on. He looks mean, whatever! I think I’d want him on my side.
Ben Dilloway (Sardaukar Assassin)
English actor with a number of film and TV credits and also a lot of theatre credits to his name.
Stephen Collins (Deaf Trooper)
One of the few additions to the cast outside the leads where we can actually pinpoint the exact role he will play. He is clearly on board to play the guard they put in charge of watching Lady Jessica after the Atreides are overthrown so she can’t use voice on him to escape. Stephen Collins is an experienced actor with a number of stage and screen credits.
Richard Carter (Second Trooper)
I can’t find an image of this actor but given his roles as bouncers, debt collectors, Grendel the Berserker, Executioner, Giordani’s Henchman and (my personal favourite) Finger Severer, I think we can assume that he’s immense.
Karoly Baksai (Atreides Soldier)
Hungarian actor who is also appearing in this year’s Terminator: Dark Fate as a Border Guard. Again, I couldn’t find a picture.
Thanks for reading. If I hear any more interesting announcements, I’ll be back. Likewise, if anything is announced about the Sisterhood TV show that is coming up. You can see my other Casting Dune posts by following the links below.