Dune: Part Two‘s Feyd-Rautha actor Austin Butler teases a complex villain in the sequel. Known for his role as Tex Watson in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and his immersive portrayal of the King of Rock and Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic Elvis, Butler is one of a few newcomers to join the Dune: Part Two cast. In the second part of Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, Butler plays the role of Feyd-Rautha, the nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and his planned successor on Arrakis.
During a recent interview with Backstage, Butler talks about his preparation for playing the role of Feyd-Rautha and teases the villain’s complex nature, saying he “feels like he’s the hero of his own story.” The Dune: Part Two star also discusses working with Villeneuve to develop the character. Read what Butler’s comments below:
It’s that thing of the bad guy in the world doesn’t feel like he’s the bad guy. He feels like he’s the hero of his own story. And that can be a hard thing with certain characters; with others, it’s easier, but you have to not judge the character, and you have to find a way to feel the motivation towards anyone of your actions. So, we had a lot of conversations and crafted that together.
What To Expect From Austin Butler’s Feyd-Rautha Performance
During the same interview, Butler also discusses his physical preparation for the role of Feyd-Rautha, which included training with Navy SEALs for four months. Feyd-Rautha was previously portrayed by Sting in David Lynch’s 1984 film adaptation of Dune. Since Lynch’s version was a massive critical and commercial failure, and Villeneuve’s has been so well-received by critics and audiences, Butler is striving to set himself apart with his performance to avoid being evocative of The Police frontman.
Feyd-Rautha’s physicality will be important since the villain famously faces off against Paul Atreides during a climatic knife fight. In Herbert’s book and Lynch’s film, Feyd-Rautha is depicted as more of a despicable villain with very few redeemable traits. Based on Butler’s comments, it appears he and Villeneuve tried to create a more complex version of the Dune villain with more heroic motivations that audiences can empathize with. Hopefully, Butler’s performance as Feyd-Rautha is as acclaimed as his turn as Elvis, for which he was recently nominated for a Golden Globe and is garnering serious Oscar buzz.
Other than Butler as Feyd-Rautha, the Dune: Part Two cast has also added several other acclaimed actors, including Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV, Florence Pugh as the Emperor’s daughter Princess Irulan, and Léa Seydoux as Lady Margot. Villeneuve’s sequel wrapped filming earlier in December, which means the first look at some of the new characters, such as Butler’s Feyd-Rautha, could be revealed soon. Dune: Part Two premieres in theaters late 2023 and is already considered one of the most anticipated movies of the year. Warner Bros. will likely promote it heavily throughout 2023, so audiences will get to know Butler’s Feyd-Rautha very well.