MOVIE NEWS – Christopher Walken has been cast as Emperor Padisah Shaddam IV in the second film of Dune.
Christopher Walken is the latest star to star in Dune: Part Two. According to Deadline, the Oscar-winning actor will play Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV of the House of Corrino in the film. José Ferrer previously played the character in Dune (1984). The emperor was briefly mentioned in Dune 2021 but was not seen in the film. At his behest, however, Prince Leto (Oscar Isaac) of House Atreides was sent to take control of the desert planet Arrakis from House Harkonnen, and thus began the conflict between the two houses.
This news comes after the recent announcement of Florence Pugh and Austin Butler’s casting in Dune Part II. Pugh will play Princess Irulan, the Emperor’s daughter, while Butler will play Feyd-Rautha, the psychopathic nephew of Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård). Sting played the character in the 1984 film. Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin will reprise their roles in Dune: Part Two. Denis Villeneuve will direct the film from a script co-written with Jon Spaihts.
Although Walken’s casting may surprise fans of Frank Herbert’s book, as the Emperor is described as young for his age, he looks no older than 35, despite being 72. However, at 79, Walken remains one of Hollywood’s finest actors, and Villeneuve must be on to something if he has decided to bring The Deer Hunter actor on board. Perhaps Walken will be rejuvenated. But knowing Villeneuve and his commitment to minimal CGI, that’s highly unlikely. The other fan choice was 75-year-old Charles Dance, especially after his commanding performance as Tywin Lannister in the Game of Thrones series.
Walken, however, will no doubt shine as the cruel and cold Emperor Shaddam IV.
Dune set the bar very high for sci-fi films, and as such, Dune: Part Two will have plenty to look forward to when it arrives next October. However, Denis Villeneuve and the rest of the cast and crew of Dune are back for the sequel and have promised that Part Two will surpass the first film. Villeneuve described the second film as “the biggest challenge” in a recent interview.
“It will be very intense. I’m in the preparation stage. Monday morning, as soon as we leave Los Angeles, the preparations will start. I can’t say anything about the film – I don’t like to talk about projects while I’m doing them – but it will probably be the biggest challenge of my career, I repeat, because it’s even more complex than the first part.”
Although Dune wasn’t too complicated, unlike the books, which are incredibly difficult to grasp, it was quite atmospheric and slow. However, the pacing and playtime were deliberate to allow the audience to get to know this fascinating new world and characters. Villeneuve did promise, however, that Dune: Part Two would be more action-packed, or as he put it, “more cinematic”.
“The only difference is that Dune: Part One is, of course, as an introduction to a world, where we explain who’s who, who does what, and what’s the technology? What is the culture here? I think the second film will be a lot more fun. In a way, it will be more cinematic. That’s all I can say.”
Dune: Part Two starts shooting this summer and will be released in cinemas on 20 October 2023.
As for Christopher Walken, he was recently seen in the brilliant AppleTV+ series Severance.