Updated March 3rd, 2024 at 21:13 IST

Dune, Black Swan Choreographer Benjamin Millepied Revisits Zendaya Film's Desert Sandwalk

Dune: Part Two released in theatres in India, on March 1. Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya have reprised their roles of Paul and Chani from the first film.

Timothee Chalamet | Image:X
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If Denis Villeneuve's Dune franchise is to be captured in one word, it would be 'intricate'. One of the many elements which make the film stand out on all accords, is the sandwalk sequences in the film. Choreographer Benjamin Millepied, who has also choreographed Natalie Portman in the 2010 Academy Award winning Black Swan, has opened up about his vision in crafting the sequence.

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Benjamin Millepied breaks down the Dune sandwalk


For the unversed, the Dune franchise stands adapted from Frank Herbert's 1965 novel of the same name. In the same, the movement of the characters in the deep sinking desert, is described as "'step...drag...drag...step...step...wait...drag...step...". This was the starting point for how Millepied conceived the cinematised choreography. 

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He said, "I aimed to design a rhythmless walk. I ensured it also formed aesthetically pleasing shapes, a focus of Denis. We catch a brief glimpse of it in Part One, but it's a stunning design. It's a desert walk engineered to avoid rhythmic patterns, as walking with rhythm attracts worms. We crafted a walk mimicking the sand and desert sounds, a brilliant concept from Frank Herbert that I was determined to showcase on screen."

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Timothee Chalamet is in awe of Dune sandwalk sequence


For those who do not gauge what is so special about the sandwalk sequences, actor Timothee Chalamet, who leads the franchise as Paul Atreides, too in the past, has shed light on how tough it was to master the gait - an important detail to making the narrative appear convincing. 

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He said, "It was a big challenge to master. I had to learn it well ahead of time, as it's crucial for Paul to demonstrate it to Jessica, and it must come naturally to him in his Muad'Dib persona. Yet, executing it on set was even more physically demanding. We wanted to convey the exhaustion of the characters during those moments of climbing high ravines or taking breaks on the ridge. It was exhausting. But Frank Herbert's concept of navigating such a terrifying environment with a creature like the sandworm lurking beneath is incredible."

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Published March 3rd, 2024 at 21:13 IST