Timothée Chalamet was floored by Zendaya's memorable performance as Chani in Dune. Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi epic was released in October to generally favorable reviews and solid box office performance and quickly cemented itself as one of the most memorable films of the year. Dune, which is based on a 1965 Frank Herbert book of the same name, has been praised for its incredibly breathtaking visuals and CGI, and the excellent performances from its cast, including Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Oscar Isaac as Leto Atreides, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, and Zendaya as Chani.


Although trailers and other marketing material suggested Zendaya would be playing a larger role in Dune, the actress actually only appears in a handful of scenes and has about seven minutes of total screen time. Her character, Chani, a mysterious Fremen warrior, appears in Paul Atreides' visions throughout the film and has almost no dialogue until the last few minutes of the film. Although her time in the film was relatively limited, Dune's ending does suggest that she will play a much larger role in the sequel, Dune: Part Two, which was recently announced to be releasing in October of 2023.

Related: The Purpose of Zendaya's Character In Dune Explained

In a new interview with Deadline, Chalamet shared his thoughts about Zendaya's performance in the film. The actor called his co-star's work "incredible to witness." While her screen time may have been brief, Chalamet says that Zendaya perfectly embodied the character of Chani and that seeing on her screen was "inspiring." Check out Chalamet's full comment below:

"She is Chani, and it’s incredible to witness. From the get-go, she was that character, and it was inspiring to see. I love the shot in the movie of Chani pulling the mask down for the first time; it feels properly momentous. But even on the day, it was like, Holy sh*t, Chani has arrived."

Dune Part 1 Zendaya Timothee Chalamet

Although they only got to share a handful of scenes together, the chemistry between Chalamet and Zendaya was evident on screen in Dune. Zendaya is able, in her brief screen time, to convey a lot of emotion and character through nothing but her eyes and her body language, which seems to be what Chalamet is describing. In the novel Dune, Chani goes on to play a very important role in the larger story, and Zendaya's embodiment of the character bodes well for her appearance in the upcoming Dune 2.

While Villeneuve has been criticized for Zendaya's lack of screen time in the film, he evidently chose the right actor for the job. Villeneuve sets up her character for a larger role in the sequel where audiences will hopefully get to more fully explore her past, as well as her relationship with Paul. Zendaya's performance and the general design of the character mesh well together and make for some incredibly impactful moments, even when the actress is mostly only looking off into the distance. With Dune 2 set to start filming next summer, Zendaya and Chalamet will be back in their stillsuits in no time, but if audiences don't want to wait until 2023 to return to Arrakis, Dune will be available to rent or buy digitally on December 3.

More: Why Dune Wastes Both Zendaya and Dave Bautista (But The Sequel Won't)

Source: Deadline

Key Release Dates
  • Dune 2 (2023)Release date: Oct 20, 2023
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