'Dune' stars dazzle rainy London at film's premiere

Zendaya, Timothee Chalamet and Jason Momoa were among stars who attended the sci-fi epic's UK screening

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A month after its international release, the Abu Dhabi-filmed sci-fi epic Dune is set to hit theatres in the UK and US this week.

The film's cast, including Zendaya, Timothee Chalamet, Jason Momoa and Rebecca Ferguson braved the rain along with director Denis Villeneuve at its star-studded London premiere on Monday night at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square.

Zendaya, who plays Chani, the love interest of Chalamet's Paul Atreides, wore an asymmetrical Rick Owens white column gown to the event. Her stunning look also caught the attention of rumoured boyfriend and Spider-Man co-star Tom Holland, who shared Zendaya's photo on Instagram.

Ferguson, who plays Lady Jessica in the film, chose a voluminous black Carolina Herrera gown, while Chalamet wore an Alexander McQueen suit embellished with silver zipper details and Momoa, who plays swordmaster Duncan Idaho, was seen in a velvet jacket paired with a black brocade waistcoat.

Based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel of the same name, Dune was made with a $165 million production budget and shot in Hungary, Norway, Jordan and Abu Dhabi.

Much of the film is set in the dangerous planet Arrakis, known for its exclusive supply of Spice, the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe.

“When the producers were looking to the UAE, the brief wasn’t about a big desert landscape,” producer Robbie McAree of Epic Films, which provided production services for Dune, said in September.

In a behind-the-scenes video released by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, Villeneuve revealed what drew him to Liwa as a central location for the film.

"What I found in Abu Dhabi is unmatchable. There’s a scale to the dunes and the desert in a variety of shapes that we thought was absolutely mesmerising," he said.

"There’s also some climatic conditions there that were perfect for us because of the proximity to the city, it's like a strange kind of haze in that air that I was looking for that matched totally with the look of the film.”

Dune is also packed with other lauded actors, including Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

The film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival last month, has made $129 million so far with its international releases. It's been praised by critics for its scope and visually thrilling scenes.

Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Leah Greenblatt said Dune "is exactly the kind of lush, lofty filmmaking wide screens were made for; a sensory experience so opulent and overwhelming it begs to be seen big, or not at all".

Villeneuve has often stressed that the film, which will also stream on HBO Max, was made for the big screen experience.

“We are in a pandemic and that reality is twisted right now, and I totally understand if people can’t go to the theatre or people are afraid of the theatre. I respect that and that’s the priority. Health is the priority,” Villeneuve said earlier this week. “But the movie has been made, designed, dreamed to be seen on a big screen.”

Updated: October 19, 2021, 8:29 AM