Javier Bardem on 'Dune 2': Spanish actor says he can't wait to 'go back to the desert'

The first film by Denis Villeneuve was partly shot in Abu Dhabi

Spanish actor Javier Bardem speaks during the event Rendezvous with Javier Bardem at the 75th Cannes Film Festival. AFP
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Javier Bardem can't wait to "go back to the desert" to film Dune 2, or Dune: Part Two, he told a crowd at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend, during a Q&A session with the Spanish actor.

He spoke freely on Denis Villeneuve's Dune sequel, about which not much is yet known.

“I’ve read the new draft and I think they’ve done an amazing job of putting together the pieces in a way that is gonna surprise people," he told a crowd at the Salle Bunuel on Friday, as reported by industry publication Deadline.

Scroll through the gallery below to see the cast of 'Dune':

He said fans won't be surprised by what happens if they've read the book, "but they’ll be surprised by the way they put it together. I was very moved by it. It’s a movie that is full, and you can feel the weight of it, and at the same time ... the spectacularity of it."

Bardem said he'd be happy to go back to the desert, the setting for the film, with Villeneuve, who he described as "one of the greatest directors ever".

The film, which stars Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac and Zendaya, was shot in the Liwa desert in Abu Dhabi in the summer of 2019. The vast open landscape was used as the setting for the planet Arrakis ― a dangerous place known for its exclusive supply of spice, the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe.

Whether or not the sequel will be shot in the UAE is still up in the air. The National understands negotiations are taking place, but neither the Abu Dhabi Film Commission nor twofour54, which handled local production on Dune, have given an official comment. Similarly, Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures have declined to comment, and none of the local crew we reached out to were able to confirm or deny if they’d been approached for Dune: Part Two.

After Dune opened last October to the highest-grossing opening weekend of director Villeneuve’s storied career, it came as no surprise when Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures promptly green-lit a sequel. It achieved a $41 million opening in the US, despite having to contend with the ongoing box office challenges presented by the pandemic and a same-day HBO Max streaming release.

A sequel had always been on the cards, however, as Villeneuve already split Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel in two for his film. It then went on to win six Oscars, the most of any film at the 94th Academy Awards.

Scroll through the gallery below to see all the winners from Oscars 2022:

Details about the sequel are thin on the ground for now. Villeneuve has said the earliest he expects to begin shooting is autumn of this year, and Dune: Part Two has a tentative release date of October 2023.

Those who are familiar with Herbert’s novel can probably predict some key plot points as Paul Atreides (Chalamet) rises to power among the Fremen in the ongoing battle for control of the spice of Arrakis.

Bardem plays Naib Stilgar, governor of Arrakis, in the film.

During the talk at Cannes, which was called Rendezvous with Javier Bardem, the No Country for Old Men actor also discussed a wide range of other topics, including how the industry has changed since his career began in the 1970s.

Javier Bardem attends the closing ceremony of the 75th Cannes Film Festival. EPA

"When I started, it was different," he said. "You would do a role and you would spend the whole time preparing that role, and you would do the movie. It was a sacred thing, and then it would open and it would create a climate — it would mean something.

"Now, we are going so fast, and I feel sorry for the people who are starting out now. I don’t know what it means to be trying to make movies today as an actor, or director, or producer, or writer, because the rhythm is so different from where I started."

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor also touched on Sean Penn’s critically panned 2016 Cannes competition entry The Last Face, a love story in which Bardem played a relief worker. “It was a disaster," he said with a smile.

“But, let me tell you, it was a great disaster. It’s good to come to a festival like Cannes and be booed and be reminded that what we do can be horrific, because otherwise we think of ourselves too highly."

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Updated: May 29, 2022, 7:29 AM